Sergey Kuznetsov: Venice Commission has never recommended forming election commissions on parity basis in Azerbaijan – EXCLUSIVE

Sergey Kuznetsov: Venice Commission has never recommended forming election commissions on parity basis in Azerbaijan <font color=red>– EXCLUSIVE </font>
# 25 February 2008 09:45 (UTC +04:00)
Strasbourg. Fuad Gulubayli-APA. Sergey Kuznetsov, officer of referendums and elections department of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission interviewed by APA

-Have the official Baku and Venice Commission finished the discussions on the amendments to Azerbaijan’s Electoral Code?
-If the question is the document that will be submitted to the Azerbaijani parliament in spring this year, the discussions have finished. We will have no business meetings in connection with this issue. I hope our recommendations will be taken into consideration when the document will be discussed in the parliament. Time will show the form of the cooperation. Elections will be held in Azerbaijan this year, some events will take place, and we will participate in several programs. We will also continue cooperating with the Central Election Commission.
-Azerbaijan said the recent discussions in Baku were successful. Do you also think so?
-Our activities in the framework of the working group were successful and constructive enough. But it does mean that we have solved all the problems. We have still different views on some points. We hope the statements made during the recent discussions in Baku and our position on these issues will be taken into consideration while discussing the bill in the parliament.
-Has Azerbaijani authorities taken into account all the recommendations of the Venice Commission on the amendments to the Electoral Code?
-First of all, I should note that all the issues are of technical character for us – lawyers. We work on the law and every detail is important, if we are speaking about the law. Even the smallest points can cause important changes while applying the law. During the recent meetings in Baku we once more expressed our concern about the formation of election commissions. We generally discussed all the issues and I think we achieved some improvement in some issues. But unfortunately, not all of our recommendations were taken into consideration. There are still some issues left. We hope the recommendations we gave beforehand and which appeared to be the results of the recent roundtable in Baku will be discussed in the parliament.
-At the end of the discussions between Azerbaijani government and Venice Commission it became known that the issue on formation of election commissions on parity basis was not amended. Did the Venice Commission offer to form commissions on parity basis?
-The formation of commission should be solved by participants of election process. This should not be expected by Venice commission. We want that, this commission can achieve respect of political forces and work efficiently. We have never recommended to form this commission on parity bases or using other elements .We noted several times that, commissions should achieve the respect of all forces participated in the elections. We have drawn the attention of government representatives to this issue and stated them that, this issue should be solved. We are ready to consider any proposal on this issue. The roundtable was held on the issue in Baku. Political forces and NGOs presented many proposals on the settlement of this issue. The results of the discussions have been reflected in the last version of bill. I can say that, interesting proposals which can be realized were sounded in the discussions. I want to stress that, neither Venice Commission nor Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights can write the law. We can state our opinion that, we noted to opposite side during the meetings that, there are several interesting proposals which can be carried out.
-Which innovation can be applied for the consideration of appeals after elections?
-We have achieved an agreement on the consideration of appeals during the discussions and hoped that, this will be reflected in the law .If the issue is reflected in law as we coordinated, it will be possible to consider appeals transparently. The decisions will be approved operatively and European standards will be taken into account.
-Were proposals of Azerbaijani opposition taken into account?
-We have used the texts of opposition during the discussions .Our experts familiarized with the proposals o f opposition and I must say that, there are interesting proposals which can be realized in this documents presented by opposition. We took into account the factors in the dialogues. We have taken into account of proposals of political forces that participated and missed in the roundtable.
-How is the situation on the amendments to law on Freedom of the assembly?
-The positive judgment was made on the bill in the session of Venice Commission in December, 2007.We have stated our opinion and expected the opinion of state officials. We hope that, the serious amendments will not be made to the bill presented to Azerbaijani Parliament.