Elections in Azerbaijan are held in unequal conditions

In Azerbaijan there is a practice of using administrative resources during the election in favor of the ruling party and its candidates. In this regard, the election campaign is  held in unequal  conditions for various political forces. This was discussed at a conference "Monitoring the use of public resources" held on Friday. This project is realized  by three NGOs  with support of the EU: Center for Economic Research , Public Association of democratic reforms, and human rights and  the Caucasian media research center.

Representatives of public associations of democratic reforms and human rights Rafael Humbatov presented a report on financing election campaigns based on examination of the legislation. Report covered all the elections from 1998 to 2013. Since 2010 has been discontinued the practice of providing state funds for election campaigns for election participants .

On the other hand, there is no transparency in campaign financing , and the CEC does not provide public access to income declarations  of candidates.  The declaration of expenditure and assets of candidates has not been provided, while even in Russia  such detailed  declarations provide not only the candidates , but also their families.

At the presidential elections in 2013 a presidential candidate of the National Council, Jamil Hasanli, unveiled his declaration and demanded that the CEC issued a declaration of his opponent Ilham Aliyev. However, the CEC refused to do so, citing the need to get permission of the candidate. The report has made recommendations on the need to finance election campaigns and the provision of funds parties with mass support; creating equal opportunities for candidates; arbitrary setting of media prices on political advertising; ensuring public control over the funds.

Gumbatov also pointed to the reduction in state financing the election campaigns. Thus, before 2010 election campaign lasted 60 days, and free airtime for presidential elections was 24 hours. Now , these figures decreased respectively to 23 days and 9 hours. Venues for meetings with voters  have also been reduced. Problem is the use of administrative resources and candidates.

Formally candidates during the election campaign disclaim duties, but after being elected to Parliament, they return to their posts. In the current parliament  there are 20 such deputies.

Expert at the Center for Economic Research, Gubad Ibadoglu, focused on the use of various forms of administrative resources - power, institutional (public institutions) , legislative , media , financial.

However, he pointed to the practice of raising wages, benefits and pensions during campaigns. In the presidential election in 2013 before the election were issued 45 orders president to raise the salaries, allowances and pensions , affecting two million people, or 40 % of voters.

In addition, the head of state before the elections issued 87 orders to allocate from the reserve fund 253 million manats on the socio- economic development of regions.

In addition , in  the budget for  2013 in the item "Other expenses" were provided three billion manat (which is 14 % of the budget,) without specifying the classification of these costs. Special monitoring was conducted with regard to the use of funds for the presidential elections in 2013. -06D-

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