Opposition Parties of Azerbaijan do not Support Suit on Changes to Election Code
Azerbaijan, Baku, 6 June / corr. Trend E. Babayev/ The opposition parties do not support the suit which will be filed in the Constitutional Court of Azerbaijan on the changes and supplements to the Election Code of Azerbaijan. "I will make an appeal to the court," Eldar Namazov, the head of the For Azerbaijan public forum who is running for presidency, said to Trend on 6 June.
The presidential election in Azerbaijan will be held on 15 October 2008. The parliament of Azerbaijan passed the Bill on Supplements and Changes to the Election Code on 2 June. According to the Bill, the presidential candidates are prohibited to conduct election campaign in state-owned TV channels, radios and newspapers with the term of the election campaign being shortened from four months up to 75 days. Furthermore, the number of signatures require for the registration of the presidential candidates was decreased from 45,000 to 40,000. The oppositional parties, who consider the changes undemocratic, think to boycott elections.
Namazov said that he expects new Bill to be approved by President after which he will introduce his suit to the Constitutional Court. "Our lawyers are going to complete the filing of the suit. The suit includes several issues. The most important is the ban on election campaign in AzTV and granting free air time for candidates only on the Public TV. Public TV broadcasts to about 60% of territory of the country. It means that millions of voters will not be able to watch the debates of candidates," Namazov said.
According to Namazov, the election campaign will began soon; therefore filing suit in the court of lower instance seems impossible. The legislation gives a right to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court, Namazov said.
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