European observers about Azerbaijan’s democratic referendum
Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 28
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva – Trend:
The people of Azerbaijan have voted overwhelmingly for the amendments to the country’s Constitution, an article on EU Reporter said, citing a free observer from Belgium Tony Mallet, who observed the vote process in Baku.
European People’s Party (EPP) vice-president Mario David said that as an experienced election observer, he can testify that their observation of the opening of the ballots and referendum procedures were according to the international standards.
In total, he said, there were 117 international observers from 18 international organizations, including PACE (the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe).
There were no military or police present in the polling stations, he added.
Twenty-nine different votes on constitutional amendments give more room for maneuver, said Emmanouil Kefalogiannis, an EPP member and a Greek member of the European Parliament.
“Azerbaijanis are changing their system to adjust it to Western standards and I find the referendum democratic,” he noted.
An Azerbaijani voter Nefir Mammadov told EU Reporter after casting his votes in central Baku that it was a transparent procedure.
“We received the information with regards to the proposed changes one month in advance. I thought it gave me the flexibility and I had the freedom to answer ‘no’ to some of the questions,” he said.
“I think the referendum was totally free and in line with international standards,” added Mammadov.
The referendum to make amendments to Azerbaijan’s Constitution was held Sept. 26. The voter turnout throughout the country stood at 69.7 percent, or 3,671,707 people.
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree July 18 on submitting the draft Referendum Act “On making amendments to Azerbaijan’s constitution” to the Constitutional Court.