HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani has issued a decision specifying the sources of financing electoral campaigns and the controls and procedures for supervising it.
The decision stipulates that the maximum expenditure of each candidate on electoral campaigns shall be QR2mn, and that each candidate may finance his electoral campaign with his own money or with cash or in-kind donations he receives from Qatari natural persons, provided that the total of these donations does not exceed 35% of the maximum limit stipulated in the previous article.
The candidate must notify the committee (the committee for monitoring expenditure on electoral advertising) of the names of the persons from whom he received a donation and the amount of the donation.
Under the decision, it is prohibited for any candidate to receive any contributions or support to finance spending on his electoral campaign from foreign or unknown sources, from a Qatari legal person, from a foreign natural or legal person, from a foreign entity, from a state or an international organisation, or from an entity that a Qatari or foreign person contributes to its capital, natural or legal, regardless of its legal form.
The decision required each candidate 24 hours before the start of the electoral campaign to deposit all private funds and cash donations, which he received to finance his electoral campaign, in an account opened for this purpose in one of the national banks determined by the committee.
It is prohibited to spend on it from any source other than this account.
The decision also obligated the candidate to verify the sources of cash and in-kind resources, deposit in the bank account their amount or monetary value immediately upon receipt, manage the register and receipts of cash donations, determine the value of in-kind donations in accordance with the provisions of the law, manage and dispose of the bank account and manage chequebook, and not exceed the permissible legal funding ceiling, verify the electoral and legal nature of the amount to be paid, and the existence of original and credible documents related to amount, and prepare a list of electoral expenses.
The decision also stated that the candidate may request account statements and copies of any documents related to the bank account, and he may withdraw the remaining amounts in the bank account and liquidate the in-kind resources that have not been consumed.
The candidate may also appoint an authorised person with legal powers to sign the opening of the bank account, deposit in it, withdraw from it, request, receive, issue and sign checkbooks, and bank transfer, provided that the delegate adheres to the same obligations stipulated in the decision.
According to the decision, spending on electoral advertising includes expenses of printing, hanging and distributing election advertisements, posters and brochures, renting places to hang them, expenses of organising election meetings, expenses due to service providers that these meetings require, and all expenses related to their organisation, office and shop rental expenses, and expenses of communication, equipment and tools for organising election campaigns.
Expenditure, in accordance with the decision, also includes the expenses of campaigning through the press, private media and social networking websites, the salaries of workers, their food and clothing expenses on the occasion of the completion of the campaign work, the expenses of renting the means of transportation for electoral campaigns, the expenses of removing advertisements, posters and electoral brochures, and any other electoral advertising means.
The decision stipulates that expenditures on campaigning shall be paid based on original documents proving the use of these expenditures in accordance with the purposes specified in the previous article, in the form of invoices, statements, documents or bonds dated and signed by suppliers and service providers.
Payment of expenditures on electoral campaigning shall be by cheque or bank transfer for each expenditure operation whose value exceeds (QR10,000), and it is required that the withdrawal documents state the reason for the operation.
The decision states that deposit, withdrawal and transfer operations from the bank account for electoral campaign spending shall end forty-eight hours after the date of announcing the election results, and the candidate or his authorised representative may not withdraw the remaining balance after the end of the mentioned period, except after submitting a written declaration to the bank signed by the candidate stating that there are no expenses owed for the benefit of others, and the closure of the bank account shall be based on a notification from the committee to the bank in which this account is opened.
The decision stipulated that a committee shall be established in the ministry, called the "committee for monitoring expenditure on electoral advertising," consisting of two representatives from the ministry, one of whom shall be a chairman and the other a deputy chairman, and with membership from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice, the Qatar Central Bank, and the Audit Bureau.
Each entity shall choose its representative in the committee's membership, and a decision is issued by the minister for naming the chairman and deputy chairman and members.
The secretariat of the committee shall be assumed by one or more of the ministry's employees, who shall be delegated and their specialisations and remunerations shall be determined by a decision of the minister.
According to the decision, the committee will monitor compliance with the maximum spending limit on electoral advertising, review and audit financial accounts for spending on candidates' electoral campaigns and funding sources, conduct the necessary investigations to ensure the accuracy of financial operations, and request information and documents from the competent authorities within seven days from the date of their announcement.
The committee may, for the purposes of verifying the accuracy of the candidates' financial statements, request from each candidate any supplementary information from the date of his legal announcement of the request within the time indicated in this article.
The decision stated that the committee must request, within fifteen days from the date of the announcement of the election results, from each candidate to submit an account statement for his electoral campaign approved by an auditor, detailing the total private funds, cash and in-kind donations he obtained and their sources, and what was spent on the electoral campaigns.
The aforementioned account statement shall be accompanied by a statement of the electoral campaign's bank account, showing all withdrawals, deposits and bank transfers made from this account from the date of its opening to the date of its closure.
Under the decision, the committee, within three months from the date of announcing the election results, shall prepare a report that includes the names of the candidates whose financial statements were requested and whose account data was approved, and the names of the candidates who violated the rules and procedures for financing electoral campaigns.
The committee also has the right to refer violations of electoral campaigning to the Public Prosecution to take appropriate legal measures.
Under the decision, the committee shall carry out its work and responsibilities stipulated in this decision before the Shura Council elections with a sufficient time determined by the minister, whether in the original or supplementary Shura Council elections, or the run-off elections, as the case may be.
As an exception to the provision of the previous paragraph, the committee shall carry out its work and competencies with regard to the first elections for the Shura Council, starting from the date of issuing this decision.
The committee is considered in a permanent session until the end of the electoral process.
The decision stipulates that the committee meets at the invitation of its chairman, and its convening is valid only with the attendance of the majority of its members, including the chairman or his deputy.
Its decisions are issued by the majority of the votes of the members present, and in the event of a tie in the votes, the side of the chairman shall prevail.
Minutes are drawn up for each session showing what took place in the session, and signed by the chairman and the secretary.
The committee determines the dates of its meetings, and sets the rules and procedures necessary for the exercise of its competencies.
The decision obligated the chairman of the committee, or any of its members, to step down from participating in any of the committee's work or competencies, if the work or jurisdiction is related to one of his relatives or in-laws up to the second degree.
The decision permitted the committee to request what it deems necessary to exercise its powers of data or documents from ministries or other government agencies, and it may invite to its meetings whoever it deems necessary to attend from among the employees of those bodies or others with competence and experience in the field of its competence to seek their opinion without having the right to vote.
The decision stated that the committee may form from among its members or other technicians and specialists working groups, or assign one of its members to study any of the topics related to the committee's competencies.
The decision stipulated that the committee's deliberations, work, reports, data and information obtained for its work shall be of a confidential nature, and its members and employees are prohibited from disclosing such data or information.
According to the aforementioned decision, the committee submits to the minister, at the end of its mission, a report on the results of its work, proposals and recommendations.
It also stipulated that the committee's papers and minutes of its work shall be kept with the department concerned with elections in the ministry, after the end of elections.
The decision stipulated that it is effective starting from its date of issuance, and to be published in the Official Gazette.