Azerbaijani parties: high voter turnout in referendum on Constitutional amendments

Azerbaijani parties: high voter turnout in referendum on Constitutional amendments

Azerbaijan, Baku, March 19 / Trend , A. Huseynbala/

Azerbaijani opposition parties say there was a high voter turnout in the Azerbaijani referendum vote on the Constitutional amendments.

"I am confident that majority of voters voted for the amendments," the pro-government Ana Vatan Party chairman and member of parliament Fazail Agamali told Trend . 

Azerbaijan held referendum to amend 29 articles of the Constitution on March 18.

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

According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), 87-92 percent of voters supported the amendments.

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.

Agamali said despite opposition's efforts, the people did not support their call to boycott the vote. "On the contrary, the voters boycotted the referendum by a high turnout. The Constitutional amendments will serve strengthening of Azerbaijani statehood and Constitution and democratic development of the society," he said.

The pro-government Ana Vatan Party was founded in 1991. It possesses two seats at the parliament.

"The referendum can be considered success taking into consideration high voter turnout," pro-opposition Great Establishment Party chairman and member of parliament Fazil Mustafa told Trend .

He said the Constitutional amendments will create new law atmosphere in Azerbaijan. "I think if we want to establish fully democratic country, we need to change political atmosphere rather than Constitution," he said.

The pro-opposition Great Establishment Party was established in 2004 and registered in 2005. The chairman of the party Qazanfaroglu is member of Azerbaijani parliament. He won 2.4 percent of votes in the previous presidential election.

"Excluding small violations revealed by our observers in the referendum on Constitutional amendments the referendum can be success," pro-opposition Azerbaijan Liberal-Democratic Party chairman Fuad Aliyev told Trend .

He said the Constitutional amendments will not slow down democratic processes in the country.

"Unlike some opposition forces, we think every voting process is accompanied with voter turnout. The candidate of the strongest political force which enjoy most popular support wins the election," he added.

The Azerbaijan Liberal Democratic Party (ALDP) was founded in 1999. The party was split into two parts after the death of the chairman Zakir Mammadov. Valeh Ibadov and Fuad Aliyev claimed the name of the party. In 2004, the Supreme Court recognized Fuad Aliyev's party as ALDP.

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.

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