CAIRO: No television broadcasts of paid promotional campaigns will be authorized for candidates outside the specified timeframe ahead of the People’s Assembly (PA) elections, the Supreme Electoral Commission said in a statement late Wednesday.
According to the commission, the paid promotional campaign that Al-Wafd opposition party on Sunday requested a permission to broadcast cannot be aired outside the official timeframe set for election campaigning, which starts mid-November.
“The response of ERTU [Egyptian Radio and Television Union] was that a [formal] request had to be sought through the commission to approve the campaign,” the statement read, adding that the commission has already “issued a resolution restricting the broadcast of campaigns to the elections period.”
The commission previously passed resolution number 58 for 2010, which defines the official campaign period from the day the final candidates are announced up until the day before the elections. The final electoral lists will be announced from Nov. 12-14 and elections day is Nov. 28.
On Monday, Al-Wafd party described the ban as an indicator of the government’s “lack of commitment towards holding fair elections that offer equal opportunities to all parties.”
One day later, Minister of Information Anas El-Fiqqi said in a statement that there are no bans on promotional campaigns of political parties, but they must first be approved by the Supreme Electoral Commission.
Al-Wafd’s secretary general, however, insists that the campaign does not promote the party’s candidates; rather, it “calls on citizens to join political parties and be active voters and … not to leave the scene to be monopolized by one side,” Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour told Daily News Egypt.
“I met El-Fiqqi in person after the statement was released and called on him to review the campaign again” to make sure it does not conflict with the commission’s rules, Abdel-Nour added.
In case of a run-off, the commission will authorize the broadcast of a TV campaign starting the day after the announcement of the first round of results until the day before the run-off, scheduled for Dec. 5.
The executive bureau of Al-Wafd has been considering boycotting the polls since Sunday following the ERTU’s rejection of their request to air the television campaign. The party’s supreme committee will meet on Friday to make a decision.