Amendments to Azerbaijani Constitution will better protect rights of citizens: Presidential Administration
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 19 / Trend , E.Ostapenko/
Amendments to the Constitution will protect the rights of citizens and ensure the stable development of Azerbaijani statehood, Presidential Administration Chief-of-Staff Ramiz Mehdiyev said.
"I assess the referendum as a progressive step to upgrade the country, intensify democratic reforms and maintain stability," Mehdiyev said in an interview with the Russian Izvestiya newspaper.
Referendums represent the will of the people. Governments, counter-elites and society members interact to develop their country's statehood by taking part in referendums, he said.
Azerbaijan held a referendum on March 18 to amend the Constitution. The Constitution was adopted in 1995. Amendments and additions were made in 2002.
The referendum proposes replacing the current version of the 5th paragraph of Article 101 of the Constitution, which states that "no person shall be elected President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for more than two consecutive terms," by an option to extend the incumbent president's term in the event of ongoing military operations. The presidential term is 5 years.
President Ilham Aliyev was elected to the post in 2003 and 2008.
Mehdiyev positively assessed the elections.
"The governing New Azerbaijan Party, which unites 500,000 members, initiated the amendments," he said.
"This is an impressive electorate whose opinion must be taken into account," Mehdiyev said.
The essence of democracy includes presenting opportunity in society, he said. Not only the government and counter-elite, but also society members must decide if amendments meet the interests of the state.
"Only in this case can we speak about efficient democratic control and stable development," Mehdiyev said.
A total of 41 amendments to 29 articles are planned. The amendments envisage postponing parliamentary elections in the event of military operations, banning video and audio recordings and photographs of individuals against their own will and providing financial support to ex-presidents.
According to preliminary data of the Central Election Committee, electorates supported the amendments to 29 articles of the Constitution. Ballot papers at 96.14 percent of constituencies have been counted.
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