Socialist EDEK on Thursday was the first party to reveal how much it had spent on the election campaign, urging other parties to follow suit.
EDEK’s total expenditures would not exceed €150,000, a statement signed by party leader Marinos Sizopoulos read.
It added that in a time of economic hardship, where the average person is feeling the sting, the party thought it prudent not to overspend.
EDEK called on the other parties to swiftly disclose their own election campaign spending, in the interests of transparency.
The party said it has come to its attention that certain candidates from other parties have been flush with cash, spending far more than the law-mandated limit and well beyond their means, judging by MPs’ income.
EDEK therefore urged the auditor-general and the state services to “immediately proceed” with detailed checks of both parties’ and candidates’ election campaign expenditures.
The €150,000 cited by EDEK relates to the expenditures of the party itself, not of its candidates for MP.
Laws passed recently have made it tougher for parties and individual candidates alike to cheat. Although rules did exist previously, they were vaguely worded and did not specify the procedure by which authorities would check election spending.
By law, a candidate may spend up to €30,000. Where a candidate goes above the limit, the auditor-general submits a report to the Political Parties Commissioner, who has the power to slap the offending candidate with a fine equal in amount to the violation.
Each payment (for ads, and so forth) made by a candidate or his/her electoral representative must be accompanied by an invoice or receipt; for amounts over €100, the transaction must take place by bank wire transfer or cheque.
Candidates are allowed to advertise only on social media and are allowed to spend up to €300 per ad.
Parties meanwhile are required by law to submit to the Political Parties Commissioner detailed statements of election campaign expenditures and revenues within three months after the elections at the latest. The Commissioner then forwards the statements to the auditor-general, at the latest four months after the date of the elections.
In addition, for the first time anonymous donations to parties are prohibited.
This being an election year, the parties have also benefited from a special grant from the government, over and above the annual grant allocated to parliamentary parties.
The special election grant for the parties is as follows: DISY €890,000; AKEL €850,000; DIKO €410,000; EDEK €230,000; and the Greens €58,000.
Polling stations this Sunday will open at 7am, then break for an hour at noon and voting resumes from 1pm until 6.30pm.
Some 543,000 people are eligible to vote in the May 22 election.
Around 1500 police officers will be deployed to monitor and provide security at 1050 polling stations across the island.