Azerbaijani Opposition Parties Demand Restoration of Proportional Elections System

Azerbaijan, Baku / corr Trend S.Ilhamgizi / Azerbaijani opposition parties demand the restoration of proportional election system, whilst the ruling party opposes, heads of political parties stated in talks with Trend.

The proportional election system (participation in the parliamentary election as parties) was cancelled through a referendum in 2002. They maintained majority system (individual participation of candidates).

Sardar Jalaloglu, the chairman of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party (ADP), announced that the consultative body uniting several parties takes identical position on improvement of the elections legislation and prepares proposals. The draft document submitted by the organization offers the rehabilitation of proportional election system. According to Jalaloglu, in October proposals will be jointly discussed by opposition parties. Afterwards the document will be submitted to the consideration of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the Azerbaijan Government.

Igbal Agazade, the chairman of the oppositional Umid party, said that his party designed and presented to the Milli Majlis [Azerbaijan Government] draft changes to the Elections Code. Umid offers to restore the proportional elections system.

The same proposal was sounded by MP Gudrat Hasanguliev, the chairman of the Popular Front of Unified Azerbaijan Party (PFUAP). In its document the PFUAP offers to hold 2010 parliamentary elections through combined system and to pass fully the proportional elections system in 2015. The party offers to annul majority elections system.

The application of proportional elections system is a demand of the opposition bloc which unites Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP), Liberal Party and the Citizens and Development Party.

Demands by heads of opposition parties are directed at increasing the role of political parties. Those initiating this proposal urge that it is necessary to inject in the Constitution changes authorizing the parties represented at the parliament to form the Government.

MP Mubariz Gurbanly, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP), said that the Government does not have any plan on application of the proportional election system.

Gurbanli said that in this issue it is necessary to take into consideration the people's opinion. People stated its position in a referendum in 2002. "We do not see any necessity in including changes to the Constitution every minute," he added.

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