Azerbaijani State-Owned Newspaper Demands to Pay Outstanding Debt from the Election Campaign

Politics Materials 23 June 2008 15:15 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 23 June / corr. Trend E. Babayev/ The Azerbaijani official state-owned newspaper of Azerbaijan has appealed the Central Election Commission (CEC) once again to pay AZN42,000 meant for the paper for the election campaign.

"Until the supplements and changes to the Election Code, the legislation indicated that the free election campaign of the candidates is carried out in the mass media sources out of budget proceeds, but we still have not got out share. This sum totals to AZN42,000 which has been left from the last three elections," Bakhtiyar Sadigov, the editor-in-chief of Azerbaijan and MP said to Trend on 23 June.

The Azerbaijani parliament made several changes to the Election Code on 2 June.

According to the previous Election Code, the registered candidates, political parties, blocs of parties and propaganda groups on referendum were granted free pages in the periodicals. The expenditures of the periodicals for these pages were covered by the public budget (Article 83.9).

The free election campaign in the state-owned media was banned after the new changes to the Election Code.

Parliament elections were held in Azerbaijan in 2000 and 2005 and presidential elections - in 2003.

Sadigov said that his paper has appealed CEC more than once to repay its debt. On his part, CEC appealed the Ministry of Finance, but there is no any result yet. "We did not lose anything from the financial point of view after election campaign in the state media was banned. The fact that the state media was involved in the election campaign sometimes caused ungrounded claims by the opposition. That is, the opposition claimed that we supported the governmental candidates. We have got not a penny from the election campaign so far. CEC has not paid the funds meant for us," he said.

Azer Sariyev, the spokesman for CEC said to Trend on 23 June that CEC has sent an official letter to the Ministry of Finance with this regard. "The Ministry should pay the sum meant for the elections to the media sources. It is not CEC who is responsible for that," he added.

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