US to Assist in Holding Democratic Elections in Azerbaijan: Ambassador
Azerbaijan, Baku, 28 January / corr Trend J.Babayeva / The United States intends to assist in holding the most democratic presidential elections in the history of Azerbaijan in October.
"The United States will do it together with the international organizations and the Azerbaijan Government, Anna Derse, the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, stated on 28 January.
Major opposition parties stated on the participation in the elections with their own candidates. Azadlyg bloc, who unites three opposition parties, stated that they will boycott the presidential elections unless 'minimum democratic elections conditions' are injected in it.
Prior to the elections, discussions to improve the Elections Code are underway. The next discussions with the Council of Europe expert, regarding the study of the Azerbaijani elections systems, will be held in Baku in the first week of February.
Work on the Code was scheduled to conclude by autumn, whereas it was postponed due to the position of the opposition parties on the formation of the elections commissions. In June Azadlyg bloc sent a package of proposals to the Venice Commission on changes and supplements to the Elections Code of Azerbaijan. It also reflects the formation of the elections commissions on a parity basis.
At the beginning of November 2007 Baku hosted a round table with the participation of representatives from the Venice Commission, OSCE and the Government, and for the first time, with the representatives of political parties of Azerbaijan. The meeting focused on the composition of elections commissions and the repeal of sentences related to the elections process.
In accordance with the Elections Code of Azerbaijan, the appeals are being considered by the upper elections commissions and courts. Representatives of the Venice Commission offered to reduce the consideration period of the appeals.
Within the framework of the joint work amongst the Venice Commission, OSCE and the Azerbaijan Government it was decided to introduce in the Code the use of fingerprints during the voting and not use envelopes.
The talks between the Venice Commission and the Azerbaijani authorities on the Elections Code will end in Spring.