Venice Commission’s Envoy Hopes Amendments to Azerbaijan’s Electoral Code Will be Adopted Soon
Azerbaijan, Baku /corr. Trend K.Ramazanova / The Venice Commission hopes that the process of making amendments to the Electoral Code of Azerbaijan will be accelerated and the amendments will be adopted soon. It will give an opportunity to the candidates and electors to stand ready for the elections, said the representative of the Venice Commission, Sergey Kuznetsov, on 7 November. Issues regarding complaining about decisions linked to the election process in Azerbaijan and forming election commissions are again discussed in Baku on 7-9 November at a meeting attended by representatives from the Venice Commission, OSCE, Azerbaijani Government and political parties.
"We do not insist on using envelopes during the voting and possibly, using envelopes will be annulled as a result of the amendments," Kuznetsov said.
"We have received several proposals from the political parties and will take them into consideration during the discussions," he said.
In addition, Kuznetsov said that there are several ways of forming election commissions. Yet it is unclear what variant will be selected by the participants of discussions which will take place in Baku on 9 November. "There are very interesting proposals and out experts study them," he said.
Discussions take place with regards to the improvement of the Electoral Code on the eve of the 2008 Presidential elections in Azerbaijan. Work on the Electoral Code was planned to be completed by autumn, but the issue was delayed due to the position of the opposition parties on formation of election commissions.
In June the Azadlyg bloc which combines three opposition parties sent a pack of proposals concerning amendments and annexes to Azerbaijan's Electoral Code to the Venice Commission. The proposals reflected the issue of forming a new election commission on a parity base.
Other opposition parties highlighted their plans to prepare and submit new proposals to the Government of Azerbaijan and the Venice Commission. They state that the election commissions should be formed on a parity basis from representatives of the government and the opposition. Decisions of the election commissions should be made on 50+1 through voting. Earlier the sides repeatedly discussed the issue of improving the organization considering complaints during the election process. According to Kuznetsov, after each election in Azerbaijan, many participants of the election process highlighted the inefficiency of the complaint considering system. This process is delayed by the higher election commissions and courts.
The joint work of the Venice Commission, OSCE and the Azerbaijani Government has already made the decision to attach an article to the Electoral Code regarding the marking of fingers during elections. This innovation was approved by the Azerbaijani President during the 2005 Parliamentary elections.