Azer­bai­jan is on thresh­old of his­toric event: elec­tion body chief

Azer News - - FRONT PAGE - By Aynur Ja­farova

Azer­bai­jan is on the thresh­old of an his­toric event, chair­man of the Cen­tral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion (CEC) Maza­hir Pana­hov said at the open­ing cer­e­mony of spe­cial­ized cour­ses on elec­toral law for the chairs of dis­trict elec­tion com­mis­sions that took place in the CEC.

Ad­dress­ing the event, Pana­hov said the event is con­sid­ered to be one of the high- level events con­ducted by the elec­toral body.

" Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, which are of great his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance, will start soon. Dur­ing the up­com­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in Azer­bai­jan, there will be no prob­lems re­gard­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the con­sti­tu­tional rights of cit­i­zens. So­cio- po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity nec­es­sary to con­duct elec­tions is ob­served in the coun­try," Pana­hov said.

He said fur­ther that po­lit­i­cal par­ties in the coun­try op­er­ate in the con­text of plu­ral­ism and the me­dia is free of con­trol.

"The CEC is obliged to en­sure that the elec­tions are held at a high level," Pana­hov said.

The cour­ses on elec­toral law con­ducted by the CEC aim to ed­u­cate mem­bers of the lower elec­tion com­mis­sions in ac­cor­dance with the " National Ac­tion Plan to im­prove the pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights and free­doms in Azer­bai­jan", ap­proved by the De­cem­ber 2011 de­cree of the Azer­bai­jani Pres­i­dent.

Speak­ing at the cer­e­mony, Head of OSCE Baku Of­fice Ko­ray Tar­gay said the steps taken for con­duct­ing high-level elec­tions in Azer­bai­jan should be wel­comed, but this is not enough yet.

Ac­cord­ing to him, Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev's rel­e­vant or­ders have also cre­ated a con­ducive ba­sis for this to be achieved.

" Free and fair elec­tions are one of the im­por­tant is­sues of so­cial de­vel­op­ment," Tar­gay added.

The pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in Azer­bai­jan are sched­uled for fall. The fi­nal de­ci­sion on the date of the elec­tions will be an­nounced on Au­gust 2.

Ac­cord­ing to Tar­gay, dis­trict elec­tion com­mis­sions have great re­spon­si­bil­ity. The OSCE, for its part, will con­tinue to sup­port the elec­tion com­mis­sions.

Tar­gay went on to say that the in­crease of women's ac­tiv­ity in the elec­tion process has spe­cial im­por­tance, and the OSCE Baku Of­fice is work­ing with the Pres­i­den­tial Ad­min­is­tra­tion and the CEC re­gard­ing this is­sue.

In his re­marks, First ViceS­peaker of Azer­bai­jani Par­lia­ment Ziyafet As­garov said the elec­tions in Azer­bai­jan are free, and cit­i­zens de­cide whether or not they would go to the polls and that is their right, not an obli­ga­tion.

As­garov also pro­vided in­for­ma­tion on elec­toral law and the elec­toral sys­tem con­cepts.

Ac­cord­ing to him, elec­tions are the only way of com­ing to power, and the ma­jor­ity- of-votes (sin­gle- mem­ber) elec­toral sys­tem ap­plied in Azer­bai­jan is the most ap­pro­pri­ate one un­der the coun­try's con­di­tions.

" Un­der the pro­por­tional sys­tem, the voter is to vote in fa­vor of all par­ties rep­re­sented in the list. He is to vote not only for the per­son he would like to see in power, but also for the one not fa­vored by him. The pro­por­tional sys­tem does not al­low the voter to vote di­rectly," As­garov said.

Speak­ing at the event, chair­man of the Azer­bai­jan Con­sti­tu­tional Court Farhad Ab­dul­layev said it is nec­es­sary to make an ef­fort for the num­ber of pleas to the court in re­la­tion to the up­com­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in Azer­bai­jan to be as small as pos­si­ble.

Ab­dul­layev said the courts re­ceive a lot of pleas per­tain­ing to the elec­tions. Some of them are re­lated to the im­proper or­ga­ni­za­tion of the elec­toral process and fail­ures to de­fend vot­ers' rights.

Ab­dul­layev also said cases re­lated to elec­tions were re­viewed at the Con­sti­tu­tional Court sev­eral times.

" Cit­i­zens should be aware that the court can im­me­di­ately re­view their com­plaints. This is an im­por­tant fac­tor from the point of view of hu­man rights and free­doms," he said.

" In th­ese pro­cesses, we have to rely on our knowl­edge and make an ef­fort to en­sure fair elec­tions," Ab­dul­layev said.

An­nounce­ment of elec­tion re­sults by the Con­sti­tu­tional Court is very im­por­tant, Ab­dul­layev said, adding that great pro­gres­sive changes have been made in the CEC's ac­tiv­ity.

Ab­dul­layev said the CEC is closely co­op­er­at­ing with in­ter­na­tional bod­ies and keeps up with global elec­toral pro­cesses.

" Proper con­duct of the elec­tion is a great op­por­tu­nity to show the coun­try to the world com­mu­nity from a pos­i­tive point of view," the Con­sti­tu­tional Court chair­man said.

Deputy Head of the Pres­i­den­tial Ad­min­is­tra­tion Zey­nal Nag­daliyev said the vot­ing process could be ob­served by cam­eras at 10 per­cent of the polling sta­tions dur­ing the last elec­tions in Azer­bai­jan. Ac­cord­ing to the Pres­i­dent's de­ci­sion, this fig­ure has been in­creased to 20 per­cent this year, Nag­daliyev said.

Nag­daliyev also said that ac­cord­ing to the Pres­i­dent's or­der, all the nec­es­sary con­di­tions have been pro­vided for the dis­trict elec­tion com­mis­sions' ac­tiv­ity.

" Much bet­ter con­di­tions will be cre­ated for the elec­tion com­mis­sions and the vot­ers com­pared to the pre­vi­ous elec­tions," he added. " The in­for­ma­tion signs should be brought into a proper shape for the vot­ers to freely use them. It is for­bid­den to use th­ese signs for other pur­poses. Rel­e­vant in­struc­tions have been is­sued to the lo­cal ex­ec­u­tive power bod­ies."

Nag­daliyev said fur­ther that some in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions pre­pare false re­ports with­out con­sid­er­ing the re­al­i­ties of Azer­bai­jan and be­ing un­aware of the coun­try's leg­is­la­tion.

He said prepa­ra­tions for the elec­tion al­low or­ga­niz­ing the elec­toral cam­paign and the elec­tions in the coun­try at the high­est level, and the poll will be in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

"All con­di­tions for the en­force­ment of the con­sti­tu­tional rights of peo­ple will be pro­vided in the coun­try," he said.

Nag­daliyev said the sem­i­nars for the chair­men of dis­trict elec­tion com­mis­sions of the CEC are aimed at en­sur­ing high- level prepa­ra­tions for the elec­tions.

He also said much work has been done to im­prove the cam­paign­ing and there will be no cases of stick­ing pic­tures on the walls, and spe­cial boards will be placed in ac­cor­dance with the coun­try's laws.

" Voter lists that are be­ing pre­pared in Azer­bai­jan can serve as an ex­am­ple for many coun­tries. For many years we have been try­ing to en­sure that no voter stays out of the elec­tion," Nag­daliyev said.

In his re­marks, Head of the Pres­i­den­tial Ad­min­is­tra­tion's so­cial and po­lit­i­cal af­fairs depart­ment Ali Hasanov said some­times the method­ol­ogy em­ployed by in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions in any coun­try for the eval­u­a­tion of elec­tions is im­ple­mented on the ba­sis of other coun­tries' in­ter­ests.

" There are up to 100 non­govern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions in the world that were cre­ated by the de­ci­sion of U. S. Congress and re­ceive up to $ 200 bil­lion a year," Hasanov said. " Only the U. S. and the coun­tries sub­jected to pres­sures of th­ese NGOs are aware of the pur­pose of th­ese fi­nan­cial al­lo­ca­tions. In some cases, there is in­ter­ven­tion into other coun­tries' af­fairs, their le­git­i­mately elected pres­i­dents are dis­placed and the rev­enues of th­ese coun­tries are ap­pro­pri­ated."

Hasanov also in­formed the par­tic­i­pants of the event of the his­tory and role of NGOs in the Azer­bai­jani so­ci­ety and said that whereas ear­lier the NGOs were fi­nanced strictly through the govern­ment, now they have be­come in­de­pen­dent.

Cur­rently there are more than 3,500 NGOs, which cover var­i­ous fields of ac­tiv­ity, he said.

Hasanov also spoke about the role of mass me­dia and said that in or­der to main­tain po­lit­i­cal plu­ral­ism in the coun­try, the me­dia should be in­de­pen­dent.

" The ac­tiv­ity of mass me­dia comes down not only to the cov­er­age of the CEC's work dur­ing the elec­tions, but also en­sur­ing the trans­parency of the en­tire process while cov­er­ing the pre- elec­tion at­mos­phere. National Leader Hey­dar Aliyev abol­ished cen­sor­ship over mass me­dia in 1998 and since then they have been op­er­at­ing in­de­pen­dently," he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Hasanov, po­lit­i­cal par­ties play a spe­cial role in the elec­toral sys­tem of Azer­bai­jan, serv­ing as the guar­an­tor of the ex­is­tence of the state and democ­racy in the do­mes­tic and for­eign pol­icy.

Head of the Cen­tral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion Maza­hir Pana­hov adressed the open­ing cer­e­mony of spe­cial­ized cour­ses on elec­toral law for the chairs of dis­trict elec­tion com­mis­sions.

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