S.Kuznetsov, a member of the Elections and Referendum Department of the Venice Commission, declared the official position of Venice Commission on the situation in Azerbaijan in an exclusive interview to Trend.
Question: You noted that the experts of the Venice Commission (VC) should comprehensively analyze the decision by Milli Mejlis [Azerbaijani parliament] on the changes in the Elections Code to make a final resolution on Azerbaijan. How will these decisions by the Azerbaijan Parliament reflect on the VCвЂ™s position?
Answer: Our position, stated through the recommendations in 2004 and a conclusion, made in June, remains unchanged.
Formation of elections commissions, effective mechanisms for protection from falsifications and equal conditions for all candidates which take part in the election campaign (and this is a not great part of expertsвЂ™ observations) are the most important elements of democratic elections.
The VC and the Office for Democratic Institutes and Human Rights (ODIHR) repeatedly expressed their concerns about considerable problems in the legislation on these matters.
The same time, along with the proper legislation we have repeatedly stated the necessity for political will of all participating in the elections process to hold honest and democratic elections. Now the VC experts are studying the text of the law, adopted by Milli Mejlis in July.
Question: At what stage is the work on development of a final decision on the situation in Azerbaijan?
Answer: The expertsвЂ™ conclusions will be prepared by September and passed to the government. The final text will be accepted at the plenary meeting of the VC in October.
Question: Has the government officially sent the draft Elections Code to the VC?
Answer: We received this document from our colleagues at the OSCE ODIHR.
Question: Do the VC leaders adhere to the position that the Azerbaijani authorities still have time to take into account their recommendations?
Answer: We hope to see some changes based on our recommendations. VC is ready to continue cooperation and to render any legal aid to organize elections in accordance with the European Union.