International Experts to Discuss Problems with Registration of Candidates in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan, Baku, 23 January /corr. Trend K.Ramazanova / Prior to the presidential elections in Azerbaijan, international experts intend to discuss problems with the registration of the candidates at the elections.
The next discussions of the experts from the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, OSCE and Azerbaijan Government regarding the electoral system of Azerbaijan will take place in the first week of February in Baku, the Commission's representative, Sergey Kuznetsov, reported to Trend by telephone from Strasburg on 24 January.
According to the Electoral Code of Azerbaijan, the candidates should be more than 35 years old, should be a citizen of Azerbaijan, must not have dual citizenship and obligations before other states and should not have any convictions. The candidates for presidency in Azerbaijan must present to the Central Election Commission a list of 45,000 signatures.
The Secretary of Azerbaijan's CEC, Natig Mammadov, reported to Trend that there are no problems in the registration process of the candidates, which may complicate the participation of the citizens in the elections. He mentioned the issue of candidate's paying a deposit in amount of AZN 33,000 in case of problems occurring regarding personal documents of the candidates and the signed lists. "This is a small amount for the presidential elections, but this may be reconsidered," Mammadov said.
Discussions will take place with regards to improving the Electoral Code before the 2008 Presidential elections in Azerbaijan.
The meeting in Baku will again focus on the procedures of complaints on the decisions of the election commissions and canceling the use of envelopes during voting.
Kuznetsov said that during the meeting, the results of the round table which took place in Baku in November 2007 will be taken into consideration. "Currently the experts are working on the project which we received in December," Kuznetsov said.
At the beginning of November, a round table took place in Baku with the participation of representatives from the Venice Commission, Government, and for the first time, representatives from the Azerbaijani political parties. The meeting covered the composition of election commissions and complaints about decisions regarding the election process.
Work on the Electoral Code was planned to be completed by the autumn, but the issue was delayed due to the position of the opposition parties on the formation of the 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 basis.
According to the current Electoral Code of Azerbaijan, complaints are considered by higher election commissions and courts. Representatives of the Venice Commission suggested reducing the consideration period of complaints.
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 the elections. In addition, the parties reached an agreement not to use envelopes during voting.
Talks between the Venice Commission and Government of Azerbaijan with regards to the Electoral Code should be completed by spring.