Azerbaijan, Baku, 8 April / Trend corr. S.Ilhamgizi / If the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Azerbaijan will not appeal to court with a demand to return the funds allocated by the State for election campaign of candidates for the presidential elections in 2003, the funds will not be returned back, the former candidates stated to Trend .
Mazahir Panahov, CEC chairman, informed during the press-conference on 7 April that the candidates who have any arrear from the latest presidential elections will not be paid anything from the money allocated for the pre-election campaign.
Under the Article 191 Election Code of Azerbaijan, the state budget allocates funds for pre-election campaign of candidates during the presidential elections and the sum should not exceed 1mln conventional financial unity. The candidates who collect less than 3% of votes should return the sum back to the state budget.
During the last presidential elections in 2003, about AZN 12,000 ($16,000) was allocated to each candidate fighting for the presidential post. During that period, only three candidates were able to pass 3% barrier.
According to the law, candidates who could not pass 3% barrier and did not return back the sum, would be paid not by the state budget during the next presidential elections.
According to the official data of the last presidential elections in 2003, the candidates, who collected less than 3% of votes, Etibar Mammadov, Sabir Rustamkhanli, Gudrat Hasanguliyev, Ilyas Ismayilov and Hafiz Hajiyev, have made a decision to participate in the upcoming presidential elections in October 2008.
Gudrat Hasanguliyev, former candidate for the presidential post, doubts that he could not collect even 3% of votes during the presidential elections in 2003. The results of elections were cancelled in 614 election centres and he believes that the result of elections was changed. "Voters in 614 election centres make up more than 10% of electorate and we do not even know which the candidates they voted for," he stated.
CEC does not have right to deprive former candidates from the state funds during the upcoming presidential elections, as there is no such item in the Election Code of the country.
"Election Code stated that if a candidates, who does not succeed in attaining more than 3% of the votes, would not return back the sum then CEC must appeal for its return to the court," Hasanguliyev stated.
He stated that the funds allocated during the last elections have no concern to the possible funds during the approaching election.
Ilyas Ismayilov, another candidate for the presidential post, stated that he would not return back the funds to state budget, as the results of presidential elections in 2003 were faked. He said CEC may get back the sum by appealing to court.
Hafiz Hajiyev, ex-candidate, would not return back the money. He states that the funds were spent for election campaign. And, the Government must not ask the money back. "We will not with any meet problems if the Government will not allocate us any funds," he stated to Trend .
CEC considers that the former candidates must follow the legislation and return back the funds without court interference. "The statements by ex-candidates have no grounds and cancellation of the results in election centres where falsification was observed, demonstrates efficiency of the law," Natig Mammadov, CEC Secretary stated to Trend .
Mamamdov added that under the Article 197.6 of the Election Code, the candidates with any debt from previous presidential elections would not be paid anything from the funds during the pre-election campaign.
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