Council of Europe to monitor upcoming municipal elections in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan, Baku, September 12 / Trend U. Sadikhova /
Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe plans to monitor the process of preparation for the upcoming municipal elections in Azerbaijan, Ian Micallef, the President of the Congress, who is on an official visit to Baku, said on September 12.
According to him, for this purpose, a mission will be sent to Baku to monitor the situation before the elections, but only after the invitation of the Azerbaijani government.
"I urge the government to hold future elections democratically that would meet European standards. I hope that all political parties will participate in the upcoming elections, unlike the recent municipal elections," said Micallef.
He said that the municipal authorities in Azerbaijan should receive adequate funding, to the greatest extent must be autonomous for making political decisions.
"Today, the local self-government structures in Azerbaijan are limited in authority, management, financing. I believe that local authorities should be fully independent and separate from any government agency," said Micallef.
According to him, Congress also intends to monitor the situation with freedom of speech, expression in Azerbaijan. "Also we will watch how Azerbaijan fulfils its commitments before the Council of Europe," said Micallef.
According to him, the main purpose of his visit to Baku is to assess the situation before and after the March referendum (on March 18 a referendum was held on amendments to the Constitution of Azerbaijan).
Ian Micallef's official visit to Baku started on September 10 and will end on September 14. During the visit, he held meetings with the Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration Ramiz Mehdiyev, Deputy Minister of Justice, Deputy Foreign Minister, Vice-Speaker of Parliament, the Azerbaijani delegation to the Council of Europe, opposition parties, NGOs.