Azerbaijani election officials have barred the leader of the Islamic Party from running in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Hajiaga Nuriyev had formally applied as a candidate from an opposition political bloc.

Officials barred him Wednesday when they learned he was also listed as representing the Islamic Party, which is not registered by the justice ministry.

Azerbaijani election laws require a separation of church and state, and religious activists do not have the right to run for parliament.

Mr. Nuriyev has denied he is running as an Islamic Party candidate. He said the commission's decision to bar him stems from his popularity in a district outside Baku, which he wants to represent in parliament.

Some information in this story provided by AP.