Voter turnout on Azerbaijani referendum hits 47 percent in Kazakhstan by 15:00 Astana time

Politics Materials 18 March 2009 15:01 (UTC +04:00)

Kazakhstan, Astana, March 18 / Trend , K. Arynova /

Voter turnout on the Azerbaijani referendum amounts to 47 percent in Kazakhstan by 15.00 local time, Kazakh Embassy in Azerbaijan told Trend .

Some 47 percent of electorates or 350 people voted in Astana and 47 percent or 167 people at the Consulate General in Aktau, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Kazakhstan Latif Gandilov told Trend .

"We are observing electorates' high activity which is connected with enlightenment work on referendum," the ambassador said.

High activity was observed by dinner, he said.

Two polling stations opened in Kazakhstan, including one at a building of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Astana and another at the Azerbaijani Consulate General in Aktau.

A list of the Azerbaijani citizens who temporarily live in Kazakhstan, registered at the consular and have the right to vote has been prepared.

A total of 745 people were registered in Astana and 352 in Aktau.

The embassy formed an election commission to implement referendum at a high level.

The Azerbaijani Constitution was adopted in 1995. Amendments and additions were made in 2002.

Azerbaijan is holding a referendum on March 18 to amend the Constitution.

The referendum was initiated by the ruling New Azerbaijan Party. The referendum proposes to replace the current edition of the 5th paragraph of Article 101 of the Azerbaijani Constitution, which states that "no person shall be elected President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for more than two consecutive terms", by an option extending incumbent President's office term in case when ongoing military operations during a war make it impossible to conduct a regular presidential election. The term of office of Azerbaijani President is 5 years. The incumbent President Ilham Aliyev was elected to the post in 2003 and 2008.

A total of 41 amendments to 29 articles are planned to be made in the Constitution. The amendments envisage postponement of parliamentary elections in case of military operations, right of legislative initiative to 40,000 voters, ban on keeping video and audio recording and photographing a person against his will, financial support to ex-presidents of Azerbaijan, as well as technical changes.

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