The law imposes a limit on the level of spending by or on behalf of every candidate in the conduct and management of his/her election.
This is to ensure a level playing field between candidates. Without such a limit, parties with greater resources will gain advantage through spending more for publicity and awareness. This leads to distortions in the democratic process.
Parliamentary elections and Presidential elections have different campaign spending limits.
$3.50 per elector in the register of electors for that constituency
$3.50 per elector in the register of electors for that group representation constituency divided by the number of candidates contesting the election in that group representation constituency
$600,000 or 30 cents for each elector in the registers of electors for all constituencies whichever is more
The spending may be incurred before, during or after an election.
Any spending by or on behalf of a candidate in excess of the limit set by the law is an election offence called an illegal practice.
The penalty for an illegal practice is a fine of up to $2,000 and disqualification for 3 years from being on the registers of electors, from voting at any election and from being a candidate at a Parliamentary or Presidential election.
At the end of the Parliamentary/Presidential election, every candidate and his/her election agent must account for all his/her spending by or on behalf of the candidate in the conduct and management of election. These returns respecting election expenses have to be filed with the Returning Officer within 31 days after the election results are published in the Gazette.
In addition to the election expenses returns, the candidate must also submit a post-election donation report, together with a set of declarations, to the Registrar of Political Donations for all donations received during the election period. A nil return is required if no such donation was received.