Azerbaijan’s parliamentary commissions discuss referendum action on supplements and changes to Constitution (UPDATED)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 18/ Trend , I. Alizade/ The referendum action on the changes to the Constitution worked out by the Judicial Policy and Statehood Commission and Standing Commission on Human Rights of the Azerbaijani parliament calls for municipalities to make a report to the parliament.

According to article 95 of the Constitution, municipalities make a report to the population. According to the proposed changes, the municipalities are expected to make a report to parliament.

"Municipalities are independent bodies and these changes do not mean interference with their work.  Report by municipalities is essential from viewpoint of democratic reforms," Ali Huseynov, chairman of Judicial policy and Statehood Commission, said.

Judicial policy and Statehood Commission and Standing Commission on Human Rights of the Azerbaijani parliament discussed referendum action on supplements and changes to Constitution on Dec. 18.

Huseynov said changes to the Constitution have been broadly discussed by the public recently. The changes were initiated by intellectuals, public figures and MPs.

"At the last meeting of the parliament, MPs once again proposed to make changed to the Constitution. Later a working group was set up by chief of staff Safa Mirzayev and proposals and draft referendum action were elaborated in a short period of time," he added.

Huseynov said Azerbaijan's fast economic growth rates, political and democratic reforms and achievements have necessitated further improving of the Constitution.

"The chief goal is make public administration more useful," he said

According to the changes proposed to article 92 of the Constitution by the referendum action, not only commissions, but also committees can be set up in the parliament. Huseynov said parliaments include committees in various countries of the world. Azerbaijani parliament also needs committees. 

According to another changes, 50,000 Azerbaijani citizens can have rights to a legislation initiative. According to current articles, the legislation initiative can be made only by President, Parliament, Parliament of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and MPs.

"It has also been proposed to remove item 5 of article 101 and to lift restriction banning one person to be elected president more than twice. As lawyers we support it. It is not right to impose any restriction. There are different options in different countries, but current democratic reforms in Azerbaijan exclude any restrictions," he added.

According to the changes proposed to article 108 of the Constitution, rights of those elected Azerbaijani president earlier will be guaranteed by the Constitution and they will be granted status of former president.

The proposal on renaming National Bank into Central Bank and President's Executive Office into Presidential Administration were also discussed.

According to item 5 of article 101 of Azerbaijani Constitution, one person can not be elected president more than twice. Term of presidential office is five years.

Changes can be made to the Azerbaijani Constitution only through referendum (article 152).

The Constitutional Court expresses its opinion in case parliament or Azerbaijani president proposes changes to the Constitution (article 153).

The governing New Azerbaijan Party has proposed to hold referendum to lift restrictions on term of the presidential office. A number of political parties in the parliament, public organizations and intellectuals supported NAP proposal.

Supplements to item 5 of article 101 were discussed at the meeting of Commissions. Ali Huseynov, chairman of Judicial policy and Statehood Commission, said the supplement stipulates that term of presidential office is extended in case of war when it is impossible to hold presidential election until the hostilities end. This decision is adopted by the Constitutional Court at the appeal of the body which conducts election.

According to supplements to the item 1 of article 84, the term of parliament is extended in case of war until hostilities end, Huseynov said.

The Commissions continue discussions.

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