Speaker of Azerbaijani parliament orders to study issue of extension of presidential term of office
Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 16/ Trend , I. Alizade/ Speaker of the Azerbaijani parliament said in the parliamentary meeting today that the issue of holding referendum to lift restrictions on presidential term of office will be studied by the Judicial Policy and Statehood Commission of the parliament.
"The Judicial Policy and Statehood Commission will study proposal on referendum and parliament will examine it in its next meeting," speaker Ogtay Asadov said.
According to item 5 of article 101 of the Azerbaijani Constitution, one can not be elected president more than twice. Term of presidential office is five years in Azerbaijan.
Deputy chief of Azerbaijan's governing party proposed in the parliamentary meeting held today to hold referendum to make changes to the Constitutional article on term of presidential office.
"The limit for one person not be elected president more than twice restricts citizens' right to choose," said Ali Ahmadov, deputy chief of governing New Azerbaijan Party. Chairman of Azerbaijan's Constitutional Court says a referendum can be held to extend presidential term of office.
"Democratic society is being formed in Azerbaijan. Various viewpoints, initiatives, different principles of activities of governmental institutions and different approaches and opinions is an integral part of a freedom of expression which is key to a civil society," Farhad Abdullayev, chairman of the Constitutional Court of Azerbaijan, said in his interview with Trend .
"The Constitutional article banning one person to be elected president more than twice is not consistent with democratic principles and restricts democracy," MP Siyavush Novruziv, deputy executive secretary of NAP, said to Trend earlier.
Speaker said opposition MPs Ilyas Ismayilov and Gudrat Hasanguliyev have worked a draft reform regarding Constitution. Asadov has ordered Judicial Policy and Statehood Commission to study these draft reforms.
MP Havva Mammadova said referendum to lift restrictions on banning one person to be elected president more than twice is a demand of population. Therefore this restriction should be removed from the Constitution, she said. MPs Huseynbala Miralamov, Zahid Oruj and Ganira Pashayeva supported the proposal.
Arzu Samadbayli, member of opposition Musavat MP Group, noted that to hold referendum to lift restriction is not importance at the moment.
"This proposal aims at distracting attention from current situation in the country or some groups are concerned of their destiny. This proposal is not democratic," he added.
MP from the opposition Civil Solidarity Party Sabir Rustamkhanli said Azerbaijan held presidential election this year. Therefore there in no need to hurry to hold referendum to make changes to the Constitution. Referendum can be discussed during the 2010 parliamentary election.
MP Mubariz Gurbanli, deputy head of NAP executive secretary said this proposal is a request of society.
"Some circles oppose it. The people should express their opinion about proposals. Therefore we need to examine changes to the Constitution," Gurbanli added.
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