Waiting literally until the last minute to do so, President Nikos Christodoulides on Tuesday released his election campaign expenses, showing he had exceeded the spending limit by ostensibly just €19,000.
By law, the two candidates making it to the runoff should make public their campaign spending within two months at the most from the date of the election.
The runoff ballot was held on February 12 – meaning Christodoulides has now barely met the deadline for submission of campaign expenses.
The other candidate, Andreas Mavroyiannis, had released his own expenses in late March. He claimed to have spent €1.2 million.
The maximum allowable amount is €1 million.
According to Christodoulides’ filing on Tuesday, his campaign spent €1.019, 356 – or €19,000 above the limit.
In the filing, Christodoulides presented a fully balanced ledger – expenses and revenues were exactly equal, to the last cent.
All revenues came from donations – €93,000 from a transfer made prior to August 5 of 2022, plus €436,000 from individuals, plus €489,000 from legal entities (corporations).
The filing names neither the individuals nor the legal entities.
On the expenses side, the major items were: €581,000 on ads on television, radio and social media, €91,000 on ‘functions/events’, €67,000 on rent, and €64,000 on ‘purchase of services/staff’.
The filings are made to the Chief Returning Officer, who is also the permanent secretary of the interior ministry.
The Chief Returning Officer will now forward the filing to the auditor-general who will check it. Once the Audit Office has checked, it compiles a report with remarks and sends it back to the Chief Returning Officer.
It’s understood that any amounts over and above the permitted €1 million must be returned to the state.
Excesses in relation to election campaign spending are neither a misdemeanour nor a criminal offence – rather, the candidate must return any excess amount as a ‘penalty’.