Venice Commission welcomes a resolution by Azerbaijani CEC on cancellation of polls in constituencies due to some irregularities вЂ" VC official

Venice Commission welcomes a resolution by Azerbaijani CEC on cancellation of polls in constituencies due to some irregularities вЂ" VC official

Interview with an employee of the Election and Referendum Department of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) of the Council of Europe

Question: You have recently visited Baku and observed the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. What is your preliminary opinion on the polling?

Answer: Representatives of the VC were included into the PACE observation mission as legal advisers. Concerning the polling, we fully share the estimation by the PACE delegation.

Question: In its sessions after the poll the Central Elections Commission (CEC) of Azerbaijan resolved to cancel the results of poll in the constituencies where many irregularities were observed. How do you estimate such a step by the CEC?

Answer: In compliance with the existing legislation the CEC was to annul the results of poll in the constituencies where the irregularities capable of affecting the results of the elections had been observed. We welcome such a resolution. We also hope that all facts of violations will be investigated and people guilty in the violation of the elections legislation will be punished.

How do you estimate the last decree by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the improvement of the elections legislations, which stipulates the use of inking of voters’ fingers and removal of restriction on the participation of NGOs in monitoring?

Answer: The resolution met the recommendations by numerous international organizations. As Johanni Buquicchio, the Secretary of the VC said in his interview in Baku on 11 November 2005, the VC welcomes the decree.

Question: In its final opinion on Elections Code of Azerbaijan the VC did not take into consideration the said decree by the Azerbaijani President. So, will the Venice Commission be charged in the development of new recommendations with consideration of the said decree, as well as the results of the November parliamentary elections?

Answer: The decree has not been taken into consideration, as it was signed upon adoption of a final resolution at a session of the VC. In this situation the adoption of a new document makes no sense вЂ" many recommendations set by the documents have not been implemented so far. We are happy with the continuation of the cooperation with Azerbaijan in issues concerning the elections legislation. If any changes, or supplements are injected in the legislation, and if we receive relevant requests, the VC and OSCE/ODIHR will design a final conclusion.

Question: Are you going to include in the agenda of a January session of the PACE an issue on discussion of a joint opinion by the VC and OSCE/ODIHR on changes to the Elections Code of Azerbaijan?

Question: I think only PACE can answer this question.

Question: Are the VC representatives planning to visit Azerbaijan?

Answer: For the time being not. All it will depend on further development of cooperation with Azerbaijan.

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