Egypt's National Dialogue calls for raising cap on presidential campaign financing

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 20 Aug 2023

Topping the list of recommendations presented last week to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is the call to amend the 2014 presidential election law which caps campaign spending.

National Dialogue
File Photo: Participants at the Political comittee session on Sunday. Photo courtesy of National Dialogue


The recommendation comes as part of the first batch of political, economic and social policy proposals developed by the National Dialogue over the past three months.

"As the law was passed a long time ago (10 years), it became necessary to review the current cap on campaign financing during presidential elections in light of rising inflation," said a dialogue statement, adding that "Article 22 of the presidential election law should be amended to allow a candidate spend a maximum EGP 20 million (instead of EGP 10 million) in the first round and in case of a run-off a candidate may spend a maximum EGP 5 million (instead of EGP 2 million)."

The National Dialogue likewise recommended raising the spending cap for parliamentary election campaigns set in 2014.

Egypt is set for a presidential election in early 2024. Article 140 of the constitution stipulates that the process to elect a new president must begin at least 120 days before the end of the current presidential term, meaning the process must start by 1 December 2023 at the latest.

Voting must end before 18 January 2024, as this is the end of the ten years during which the constitution gives the National Election Authority (NEA) the power to place the election under full judicial supervision.

Several public figures have recently announced their intentions to run in the upcoming presidential election. The incumbent El-Sisi, has not yet declared his intention to run, but several political parties have called on him to submit a presidential bid.

Articles 141 and 142 of the constitution stipulate that a presidential candidate must secure endorsements from 20 MPs or 25,000 registered voters spread across at least 15 governorates, with a minimum of 1,000 endorsements from each governorate.

Another key recommendation from the National Dialogue is that 2014's political rights law be amended to allow presidential and parliamentary candidates equal access to state-owned media during campaigns.

"State media should observe neutrality, equality and reflect all opinions and viewpoints," said the statement, adding that "for its part, the NEA should make it easier for the media to cover elections, interview candidates, conduct opinion polls and enter polling stations to observe the voting process."

The dialogue statement also recommended that the National Election Authority (NEA) be granted greater powers to encourage citizen participation in elections.

"The NEA could make the election day a national holiday to encourage citizens to exercise their voting rights," said the statement, also proposing that the NEA “introduce electronic voting to increase voter turnout and facilitate a quicker and more accurate count of votes."

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