WEEKLY POLITICAL REVIEW

Official new

On 11 November Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received a group of participants in the international conference titled �The role of Constitution in the construction of legal state’ held in Baku in connection with the 10th year of the Constitution of Azerbaijan.

The President said that the international conference will open comprehensive opportunities for exchange of experience and opinion, close and fruitful cooperation.

In his turn the chairman of the Constitution Court of Russia, Mikhael Zorkin, noted that he construction of a legal, democratic and secular state in Azerbaijan laid firm foundation for successes of the country in all spheres.

The Azerbaijani President sent a congratulatory letter to people of Azerbaijan on the Constitution Day. “The citizens can be sure that Azerbaijan will hence develop, while its role in the international community will get more and more strengthened. As to parliamentary elations held on 6 November, despite some shortcomings, the elections played key role in the democratic development of Azerbaijan, as well as bringing the elections legislation inline with the international standards.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev estimated the results of the parliamentary elections held in the country on 6 November 2005 as positive in his televised interview for the Azerbaijan state television AzTV on Tuesday.

“The most important is that the results of the elections should reflect the will of the nation. The initial results of the elections testify for it. The general atmosphere was positive, while the results testify the people of Azerbaijan in transparent and free conditions voted for their candidates and elected the most deserved,” the President underlined. He also noted the provision of necessary conditions for the organization of normal polling. A number of foreign observers and thousands of local observers monitored the elections.

The same time the head of state underlined some law-breaks fixed on the elections day. “They told me that the violations were observed in 7-8 constituencies and at present they are under investigation. The Prosecutor’s Office was instructed to investigate the facts rigorously. The people misusing their office duties will be made answerable, while the facts of criminal character will be brought to criminal court. Over several months we have made all possible to achieve normal poll, and the intention of the authorities and the Azerbaijani President aimed at ensuring fair elections. So, I cannot allow any officer to do harm to general results of the elections through illegal interference, or arbitrariness,” he stressed.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on 9 November on dismissal of Natig Tagi ogli Mehtiyev from the post of the head of the Surahani district executive power and Ashraf Israfil ogli Mammadov from the post of the head of the Sabirabad district executive power for non-fulfillment of the President’s decree в"-806 of 11 May 2005 and в"-1062 of 25 October 2005 В"On urgent measures for preparations and holding the elections to Milli Mejlis of the Azerbaijan Republic” and for interference in the process of votes counting during the elections on 6 November.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received on 8 November the head of the Iran’s observation mission which had take part in monitoring of the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan on 6 November, Ahad Gazai. During the talk held, the head of the state stressed, the elections held were of a large significance in the political life of Azerbaijan, calling a �positive factor’ a large of number of observers in the elections’ monitoring, Trend reports.

For holding democratic and fair elections all necessary conditions have been set up in the country, Aliyev underlined, emphasizing, the results of the elections are the consequences of the Azerbaijani people’s will.

Gazai, in his turn, stated, that the elections to Milli Mejlis went democratically, which he himself witnessed.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received on 7 November the head of the Russian Federation Federal Assembly head Svetlana Orlova, Trend reports.

During the talk, exchange of views on democratic, free and just elections to the Parliament in Azerbaijan took place.

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict

The official Baku is interested in the next meeting of the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia on peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the head of the foreign policy department of the Azerbaijan’s President executive office Novruz Mammadov told Trend exclusively.

He noted, he has no information in regard to the call by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen on the next meeting of Ilham Aliyev and Robert Kocharyan in January 2006, which the Armenian president stated. В"Perhaps, he has received such information through some channels, as for me, I have not got such a proposal. In case any proposal is available, we are, undoubtedly, are interested in such a meeting. After the Kazan meeting the President of Azerbaijan is determined in continuation of such consultations for the sake of any results, of any progress”, Mammadov said and has not ruled out, that such proposal from the co-chairs may also come in Baku.

It should be noted, President of Armenia Kocharyan stated recently in Athens that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs call on leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia to meet in January 2006. " I really see the opportunity for advancing although our task was not to be hasty. If there is favorable chance for the Karabakh conflict settlement, it would be unreasonable to miss it”, Kocharyan said.

On 10 November Foreign Minister Elmar Mamadyarov said that in case of resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, peace-making forces not representing Russia, the United States, France, Iran and Turkey could be placed in this zone. "The peacemakers should not represent any of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries,” he underlined.

He also criticized the CE, which mainly concentrates on the implementation of the standards by Azerbaijan, forgetting about the commitment of Baku and Yerevan on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“From the beginning of 2006 the efforts directed at the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh will be intensified,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, told journalists.

Mammadyarov said they achieved an agreement on the conduct of a meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers in Ljubljana on 4-5 December 2005, though format of the talks were still to be determined. “Perhaps, it will be a tet-a-tet meeting, which is not to be conducted as part of a gathering of the Foreign Ministers of OSCE member-countries,” Mammadyarov said, noting that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs will also participate in the talks.

Touching upon the continuation of the negotiation process, Mammadyarov noted that on Thursday the co-chairs delivered reports on the process of peaceable resolution of the conflict at a meeting of the Permanent Council of the OSCE. The FM also underlined that the co-chairs were planning to tour the region in mid-December.

Foreign Policy

On 11 November Azerbaijan FM Elmar Mammadyarov received ambassadors from CE member-countries. The talks focused on 6 November parliamentary elections, as well as the development of cooperation between EU and Azerbaijan. He stated that the Azerbaijani government, and especially President Ilham Aliyev voiced their exact position on the issue. “Current elections were more free and democratic as compared to previous ones, while the victory of ruling New Azerbaijan Party was real successful fact,” the FM stressed.

Azerbaijan will insist on the implementation of an idea on reconsideration of the activities of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organization,” Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, the Deputy Foreign Minister, told Trend.

He underlined that this initiative by Baku under the BSEC will enable increase the efficiency of the organization.

“Azerbaijan urges that existing procedures, mechanisms of decision-making and the authorities the BSEC secretariat entrusted, do not meet the current requirements. The BSEC should meet new changes in the region, as well as the processes in the global scale,” Mammad-Guliyev noted.

The next meeting of the Azerbaijani-Georgian delimitation commission will take place in late November-early December in Baku, the Georgian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Zurab Gumberidze said during his talk with the Trend correspondent.

According to the Ambassador, the larger part of the border between the two countries has been accorded. В"Discussions concern the issue of fixation of about 30-35 per cent of the border”.

The Georgian diplomat noted at the same time that among the unsolved issues remains also coordination of the so-called “Udabdu” (desert) section at the border of Azerbaijan and Georgia, a holy place for Georgian pilgrims.

The Austrian Federal Minister, Ursula Plassik, will pay a visit to Azerbaijan early December 2005, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry told Trend.

Azerbaijani FM Elmar Mammadyarov conveyed an official invitation to Plassik during his recent visit to Austria. During the forthcoming visit it is planned to consider the political, economic and humanitarian relationships between Azerbaijan and Austria, ways for further development of the relationships. The sides will also focus on the intensification of efforts for cooperation under the international organizations, including UN, OSCE, EU and CE.

The diplomats of the two counties will set up shortly preparations for the visit, the Foreign Ministry said.

The next 2nd meeting of the Azerbaijani-Egyptian Commission on economic development is planned from 25 t0 26 December, the Egyptian embassy in Azerbaijan told Trend.

The agenda of the meting was unified by the experts of the both sides in Cairo. The experts developed and unified around 20 issues to be put in consideration of the Commission. Over 5 bilateral draft documents on development of trade-economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Egypt, which will be presented for consideration. The documents cover development of the cooperation in agriculture, trade, industry, and culture. Most documents were approved, but separate items are to be changed.

Parliamentary elections

“Bush Administration welcomes measures taken by the Azerbaijani government on the correction of irregularities observed during the parliamentary elections,” Adam Erli, deputy spokesman for the US Department of State told a briefing on 8 November. "We are glad that the Azerbaijani government in the face of the Central Elections Commission (CEC) was actively involved in the investigation into the frauds,” Erli stated.

“Delay with the announcement of the results of exit poll, conducted by the US company PA Government Services in Azerbaijan on 6 November 2005, was linked with the will to clarify the results of the poll,” Jim White, Vice President of the company, told ATV, Trend reports.

“Indeed, the results of inquiry were publicized not within 2 hours of completion of the poll, as it was announced earlier, but later. However, it was linked with the will of providing public awareness on the exact results of poll,” White said. Recalling the use of over 80,000 inquiry forms by PA Government Services in the poll, White noted it actually took too much.

In his turn the head of the Azerbaijani Representation of the USAID, James Gogin underlined that the key objective of exit poll was no to define the winners and the beaten. “We only tried to determine the leaders,’ Gogin underlined.

Final results of the inquiry, held by PA Government Services under the USAID, were publicized only on Monday morning (7 November)

The USAID ensured overhaul monitoring of the results of the exit poll conducted by the PA Government Services on the voting day in Azerbaijan to prevent undesirable impact on the results in favor of any candidate to deputies, Trend reports referring to the news release spread by the U.S. embassy.

“No fact casting shadow on the exit poll, as well affecting its results was noted, but complaints and statement in regard to the PA Consulting were considered on the voting day,” the message says.

The course of the exit poll was followed by international observers that give ground to claim that the representatives of the PA Consulting were loyal to 4 factors - political neutrality, transparency, anonymity and professionalism in their work.

The General Prosecutor’s Office launched criminal investigation, currently pursued by its Serious Crime Investigation Department, into the flagrant violation of citizens’ suffrage and the provisions of the Elections Code at the 9th Binagady and 42nd Sumgayit Election Constituency based on the materials submitted by the Central Election Commission that had cancelled the result of the polls in these constituencies.

An interpreter of the international observation mission with a number of gross linguistic and lexical mistakes made a mistake and distorted the words uttered by the PA OSCE chairman during the news conference, Azer Gasimov, the press-secretary of the Azerbaijani President, told Trend.

According to Gasimov, the interpreter translated a phrase by the PA OSCE in the following way: “The elections held yesterday did not meet the OSCE requirements and existing international standards in the sphere of democratic elections”. However the right interpretation for the sentence is: “The elections held yesterday did not meet some existing requirements of the OSCE and the Council of Europe’s standards on democratic elections.

“The final report of the OSCE/ODIHR observation mission on the November parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan will be publicized within the nearest 4-6 weeks,” Mauricio Pavesi, head of the Baku Office of the OSCE, told journalists.

“The document will be ready early December,” Pavesi said. To date an initial variant of the report of the observation mission, publicized in Baku on 7 November, was the official position of the OSCE on the 6 November parliamentary elections. “We continue observing the situation in the country and the developments and the facts, fixed on the elections day as well as consideration of the complaints at the Central Elections Commission (CEC), we they will be included in the final report of he organization,” Pavesi noted.

“The consideration of the complaints is the under the competence of the CEC of Azerbaijan and we can only observe over its implementation. However, I’d like to note that the monitoring process is complete,” he stressed.

“The key objective of the OSCE is to support the development of democracy in Azerbaijan and work in this direction will continue,” Pavesi underscored.

Political life

The victory of the New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) at the elections was marked in the region.

The rally-concert to be held on 10 November at 15.00 p.m. on the Galaba square none will come from the regions. Unlike the opposition, NAP have never gathered people from the provinces to their rallies. There will be enough party members from Baku to fill the square. As it is the rally of victory there is no need in calling large numbers of people”.

The Azadlig, New Policy and National Unity Movement election blocks, as well as other oppositional forces held the rally-march in Baku today. The action’s participants, having gathered close to ’20 January’ metro station started their march to Galaba square, Trend reports.

Having divided into columns they entered the square from various directions. During the march they chanted “Free Elections”, “Freedom” and “Resignation” slogans. In their hands they held along with the flag of Azerbaijan, the flags of Russia and Ukraine and the orange-color flags.

The opposition’s leaders вЂ"Isa Gambar, Ali Kerimli, Serdar Djalaloglu, Lala-Shovket Hadjieyva, Eldar Namazov, Tahir Kerimli and other arrived to the action’s venue.

The rally started with the sounds of the National Anthem of Azerbaijan. The rally’s presenter, an Azadlig alliance member Farman Huseynov spoke of the existing problems and fraudulent elections.

Then the Vahdat party chairman Tahir Kerimli addressed the rally. In his speech he told about falsifications at the elections, called on to cancel the results of voting and hold new elections.

The Azadlig coalition’s single candidate Rauf Arifoglu noted the facts of violations of law at various constituencies and stressed the importance of further struggle with the existing regime.

The next authorized opposition’s rally ended at 17.10 p.m. by adoption of the resolution. The demands on coming back of political emigrants, on holding the repeated parliamentary elections, punishing of the Monitor editor-in-chief Elmar Huseynov assassins and other have been put forward in the document, Trend reports.

According to the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA) deputy chairman Hasan Kerimov, minimal about 50,000 people took part in the protest action, while deputy head of the Yasamal district police department Chingiz Mammadov alleges, the number of protesters has not exceeded 4,000 people.

The �New Policy’ alliance co-founder Eldar Namazov noted, addressing the rally, the rights not only of the opposition but also of the society’s all social groups have been violated.

The chairman of the National Independence Party Ali Aliyev noted, under the Constitution, the source of the power is the nation, and only the nation must arrange the power according to its will. He called on the authorities and the international community to recognize the rights of the people.

The head of the Azadlig election bloc Panah Huseyn noted, this crowded square must take its decision. He underscored, the opposition fights not for several seats in the Parliament, but defends the rights of the population.

The Azadlig coalition co-founder, the Musavat party chairman Isa Gambar undelined the importance to continue the dialogue with the authorities.

The first deputy chairman of the Democratic Party Serdar Djalaloglu notified, that continuous protest actions by opposition will start since 18 November.

The National Unity Movement leader Lala-Shovket called on to further struggle.

The PFPA (reformists) chairman Ali Kerimli noted, representatives from all layers of the society took part in the rally. В"The fate of this struggle depends neither from the West or East, but on the will of the people”, he noted.

State building

The head of the Department for work law-enforcement bodies at the President’s Executive Office, Fuad Alasgarov, stated on Friday to an international conference dedicated to 10th year of the adoption of the Constitution of Azerbaijan that the Constitution of Azerbaijan, that updated in 2002, today has great legal, political and ideological potential for the democratic development of the country and prosperity of the people of Azerbaijan.

Intensified work regime of the police, announced by the Azerbaijani Interior Minister, Ramil Usubov, on the eve of the 6 November parliamentary elations, will be maintained. It is linked with the investigation in t the facts of violations of the elections legislation on the elections day, Trend quotes Asgar Alekperov, the Deputy Interior Minister of Azerbaijan, as saying to journalists.

“There is a definite group of people dissatisfied with the results of the elections, which could be used for violation of the public disorder,” Alekperov said, adding the irresponsible calls sounded over the past few days.

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