03/05/2014 01:09 EST | Updated 05/05/2014 05:59 EDT

Corruption inquiry to suspend hearings during Quebec election campaign

MONTREAL - Quebec's corruption inquiry says it will suspend its hearings during the provincial election campaign after next week.

A statement from commissioners at the Charbonneau inquiry says it would be inappropriate to hold public hearings during the campaign leading to the April 7 vote.

The commission insists it is politically neutral and wants to stay far away from the political arena.

It will temporarily set aside potentially sensitive subjects such as political party financing and contracts involving the provincial Transport Department.

Hearings scheduled for next week will focus on areas where the commission wishes to complete its work — fraudulent billing and the infiltration of organized crime into the construction industry.

After that, it will take a break until April 8.

When it returns, the commission will sit five days a week instead of four and extend its work day by a half-hour so it has time to complete its work.

"The elections are the basis of democracy and the commission does not wish to influence the voters one way or another," the commissioners said in a statement Wednesday.