Four organizations that will conduct an exit-poll during the extraordinary presidential elections to be held on April 11 were registered at the Central Election Commission. These are “Els” Independent Research Center, “Rey” Monitoring Center. Also, the Citizens’ Labor Rights Protection League will hold an “exit-poll” together with the US-based “Arthur Finkelstein and Association”, as well as the Independent Counseling and Assistance Center for Civil Society together with France’s “Opinion Way.”
Irada Yagubova, head of the Els Independent Research Center, who participated in the previous election and referendum, said that they would conduct exit polls in 118 constituencies and 400 polling stations except of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
Irada Yagubova, head of the Els Independent Research Center, said that their exit-poll was funded by Kaspi newspaper.
It should be noted that this media entity is famous for its connection to the Assistant of the President on Public-Political issues, Ali Hasanov. The amount of funds allocated by Kaspi is 35,000 AZN.
The Kaspi Newspaper’s official website states in the section “About Us” as follows: “Kaspy Newspaper was restored in 1999 by the initiative of Sona Valiyeva”. Sona Valiyeva has a title of Honored Journalist, is also the wife of the Assistant of President on Public-Political issues, Ali Hasanov.
Head of the Rey Monitoring Center, Rizvan Abbasov, said they would conduct an exit poll in 350 polling stations to cover 48 constituencies. The center has counted votes at the polling stations during the 2008, 2013, 2015 elections and the 2016 referendum.
However, Rizvan Abbasov did not want to disclose who financed the “exit-poll” of the Rey.
Chairman of the “Law and Development” Public Union Hafiz Hasanov says when commenting on Abbasov’s words. According to him, the question of public trust is important in this matter:
“According to the Election Code, it is not obligatory to provide information on the financial sources of the organizations conducting an exit-poll. However, the principle of transparent elections in general, the requirements of the NGO law include financial sources to be transparent, open and accountable. The disclosure of the organization’s financial source is also important so that the figures that will be released are not biased. In this regard, the organizations involved should disclose their sources of finance. However, the information that has to be disclosed does not limit to the financial sources, also these institutions have to disclose the reasons behind the need to carry out the exit-poll, the number and names of covered constituencies and dates when the results will be disclosed. ”
As to Els, H.Hasanov considers that in all cases, financial sources of exit-poll organizations must be independent and should not be funded directly or indirectly from sources dependent on the government: The source, funded by the agencies directly or indirectly related to the government, of course, creates a question : “How accurate, precise and independent is the exit-poll?”.
Until now, the surveys and exit polls conducted by Els and Rey have been meet ambiguously. The results announced by these agencies are typically very close to the official figures.