Baku comments on disagreement with Venice Commission regarding Law on Political Parties

Baku comments on disagreement with Venice Commission regarding Law on Political Parties

Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 20 / Trend E. Huseynli /

Baku has announced the milestones, on which it disagrees with the Venice Commission regarding the amendments to the Law on political parties.

During two round of discussions with the Venice Commission, both last month and in recent talks, we submitted a general text of the Law on political parties developed by Azerbaijan. According to our logic, the law, which was adopted in 1992 and meets neither the Azerbaijani Constitution's norms nor the subsequent political development, should be more dynamic and be brought into line with today's requirements," Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Social and Political Department Chief Ali Hasanov told Trend.
He said at the same time amendments to the law ensue from the fact that the Azerbaijani government has shown the will to finance political parties from state budget.

"Azerbaijani government, like other developed countries, demonstrates its desire to free political parties from external influences, including foreign financial influence. In this case, of course, we are not currently satisfied with funding political parties by foreign countries or foreigners' membership in political parties. Therefore, we initially stated that the standards considered appropriate by the Venice Commission to the European Union cannot be considered appropriate for other members of the Council of Europe. So far, none of these countries has a law allowing foreign citizens to create and fund the political parties, as well as struggle for power," Hasanov said.

He said Azerbaijan stated in advance that this norm is not appropriate for Azerbaijan, and, regardless of the conclusions, the country's parliament cannot accept such a law.
Hasanov noted another issue discussed was about political parties that are against the constitutional order.

"And it became a serious topic of discussion between us and the Venice Commission. The points we submitted state that if a political party struggles to change the constitutional order by violent means, then a question arises to close down the party, and it is closed and liquidated as a political institution. The Venice Commission somewhat hesitates on this issue and makes opinions about other forms of struggling against the constitutional order. Of course, it openly says that the question is about a violent activity of political parties," Hasanov said.

Another matter of dispute is that Azerbaijan considers that political parties must unite gradually, there should be some consolidation among them, and if they are funded by the state budget, the number of parties should be adequate to the country's political life, he stressed.

"In this case we offered to increase the previous level at 1,000 people, which are among the criteria for establishing political parties, up to 5,000. If any political party wants to become a real party, to participate in the elections, to be financed by state, then the number of its members must not be less than 5,000. Of course, the Venice Commission considers that it may create some difficulties, but we believe that it will not cause any problems. I have not heard that any party states the number of its members is less than 5,000 people. Each party believes that the number of its members is much more than 5,000 people, and so this issue will not create any problems for Azerbaijan," Hasanov said.

Another issue is associated with the procedure of suspending parties' activity, he underlined.

"The question is about by whom and under what conditions political party's activity may be suspended. We have defined a specific approach to these questions in the amendments to the law: in what cases the registration authority, that is, the Ministry of Justice, may initiate the closing of political party. The Ministry of Justice is the body registering political parties. But in any case, the court decides on closing down the party. The court is an independent authority. Therefore, no one can doubt about its independence. And in this issue, we do not understand the remarks or recommendations made by the Venice Commission to a certain extent," Hasanov said.

He said other issue that was discussed was associated with trade union organization's attitude towards political parties, with their participation in political processes.

"In this issue we have come to an agreed position that the trade unions do not participate in politics generally, but each union can be a member of a political party, may provide financial assistance to political parties and participate in establishment of a political party.

But on the whole trade union organizations are independent organization and are not involved in politics," Hasanov said.

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