Prominent video blogger and candidate in the upcoming general election Mehman Huseynov has accused his rival of offering him a bribe to withdraw his name from candidacy.
Former political prisoner Huseynov referred to the taped conversation allegedly belonging to his rival Faraj Guliyev.
If we split the votes, it will only play into the hands of YAP [the ruling New Azerbaijan Party]. Therefore, I suggest you not to compete, but to stand with me. That is, if tomorrow I become MP, I will give you all kinds of support. For example, you can create a youth association. Help me in the election, stand with me. Honestly, I do not believe in my victory. Because as a blogger you are very strong, I can’t compete with you. Do not take it as a bribe, but if you need treatment, for example, I can offer 10-15 thousand,” Guliyev is allegedly heard saying.
Guliyev, former parliamentarian of the dissolved general assembly, does not reject the fact saying the talk with Huseynov was held in January of this year shortly before the campaign for parliamentary elections started.
"They have exaggerated it and it's meaningless. I talked to him and said his campaign opportunities are limited. I offered him to withdraw his candidacy in my favor and to stand by me. I told him that he had time until 17 January, the time the election campaign started. I also said that if there is an agreement, in the future he can be represented in the leadership of our party´s youth organization,” Guliyev was quoted as saying by RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service.
Guliyev also said the recording lasted 45 minutes, though Huseynov had made only a 5-6-minute portion of the conversation public. “I am not asking he remove the recording from his Facebook page, but to publicize the entire 45-minute conversation,” Guliyev suggests.
Guliyev is the chair of the National Revival Movement Party while Huseynov represents the Movement Bloc. Both of them are running to represent Baku´s Surakhani district in the general election on 9 February.
Akif Gurbanov, the head of the Democratic Initiative Institute, who is also known as the former member of the Central Election Commission, has said the complaint should be taken to the Constituency Election Commission.
“Based on the electoral code, any kind of interference in a candidate's participation in the election, such as imposing pressure is prohibited,” Gurbanov said.
“If the constituency election commission considers the likelihood of a criminal presence in the violation, then the facts around the complaint should be submitted to the prosecutor's office,” Gurbanov said, adding given the criminal content of the complaint it should be investigated by law enforcement agencies.
Guliyev says his financial offer was in response to Huseynov's complaints about his health problems. Huseynov, however, says it was an attempt to bribe him out of the contest.
Gurbanov says the allegations of both sides need to be investigated. “It could end with the cancellation of the candidacy.”
The Central Election Commission has confirmed the case and said the appeal will be considered in accordance with legislation.