Related to constitutional electoral reform
1. A new provision "political parties" should be added to Constitution,
constitutional guarantees should be ensured for political parties' role and
place in political system, their establishment and finance for their activity.
2. The existing electoral system to the National Assembly in Azerbaijan
should be changed completely, the majority system should be absolutely
implementation, staged transfer can also be taken into consideration.
a. In this case, 125 constituencies should be abolished, a unique
pond- constituency should be established, votes given to registered and
legally - working parties should be collected, divided by deputy seats and a
system defining seats for parties should be introduced.
b. Taking into consideration the parliament's functioning, the seats
in National Assembly can be increased to 200 persons.
c. The party lists can also include independent candidates.
3. The previously existing norm of the Constitution should be re-introduced,
the new form of the provision should ban one person's repeated candidacy
excluding 2 term election irrelevant its consequency.
4. To encourage democratic habits in society, participation in elections
should be determined not only as a right but also a duty. With exception of
political parties’ boycot decisions, those refusing participation should be
punished with administrative fine.
General view at Election Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan
5. Generally, there are many objective reasons to revise the Election Code.
Main factors necessitating it are establishment of public consensus and
political confidence in the society, as well as among political sides,
restoration of confidence in free and fair elections considered basis of
Terms in Election Code
6. To resolve the problem, the terms which existed when the Election Code
was adopted should be reinstated. Particularly, the campaign period should
not be less than 45 days.
Formation of the election commissions
commissions at all levels and positions in election commissions (chair,
deputy chair, secretary) should be re-organized in a balanced way, on
the basis of equal representation of all political parties (between the
government and its supporter and the opposition being in front of
government during all political processes or its union). Then the issue of
quorum in adoption of decisions could be revised and be adopted by
simple majority of vote.
Taking into consideration the state's all opportunities, new
amendments should be made to Election Code in connection with voter
registration, CEC should automaticaly use citizens unique electronic
registration register. This way, the inter-body difference can be
eliminated and no voter name will be absent from the voter list.
To overcome the problem, relevant changes should be made to
legislation, voting right for real military servicemen should be limited
while on military service. Separately, prisoners should not be included
into voter lists and their participation in elections should be temporarily
limited. Shortly, establishment of temporary polling stations in closed
institutions should be eliminated.
Voter turnout of 50%+1 should be obligatory in a referendum to be
A requirement of 50% voter turnout should be set for presidential,
Nomination and registration process of candidates
candidates nominated by political parties and bloc of political parties in
parliamentary and municipal elections, should be conducted on the basis
of candidates list approved by political parties and bloc of political
parties. The names of candidates on constituencies included in the
decision should be submitted to CEC when elections start. ConECs
should not demand an additional decision from political parties and
party blocs. Separately, CEC should be able to directly use register
information of political parties at Ministry of Justice, no registration
document should be required from the sides.
Voter signatures supporting candidate at presidential candidates
shold be collected without any quorum, voters should have right to give
signature for more than one candidate. Registered political parties with
organizations in at least 20% of ditsricts and their blocs should have
right to put forth candidates.
The working group checking accuracy of candidate registration
documents should be composed of independent experts, basis for refusing
registration should be concrete and registration deposit should be
applied for an alternative variant to registration.
Checking accuracy of voter signatures should be excluded from the
Code for being absurd.
A voter supporting a candidate should simply submit ID number
instead of signature, and it should be enough as a person's consent.
Separately, opportunites for applying electronic signature should be
expanded, platform for online support for a candidate should be created
Use of the right of freedom of assembly
Distribution and placement of election campaign materials should
be absolutely free, technical regulations should not limit or eliminate
fundamental voting right. Restricting norms in the Code should be
For elections to be held free and democratic, for voters to feel
themselves comfortable, the way to the right to free assmebly should be
open. Whilst people assemble peacefully and do not endanger society,
imposition of high amount of fine on them, involving them in obligatory
work and limiting their freedoms should be unacceptable. The sanction
of this article should immediately be reduced to the level that existed in
The way of using administrative resources should be unambigiously
closed during campaigning, candidates should be deprived of their
legally recognized priviledges and opportunities irrelevant of their posts,
equality of all candidates should be ensured.
From the start of elections, all reconstruction, construction works,
refurbishment of facilities affecting citizen votes, should be banned.
Except for cases of accidents, the period of expenditures pre-stipulated
in state and local budgets, should be banned from the start day of
elections to the day the results are declared.
Campaigning in media
Provisions requiring registration of candidate in 60 constituencies
and provision imposing other limitations should be eliminated;
All televisions and radios funded through state budget should
allocate broadcast time in election process in an obligatory way;
This time should not be less than 1 hour a day for every television
and radio and should be only at prime-time;
Paid broadcast time at private televisions, as well as public and
state broadcasters should have minimum limit, campaign hours should
be at prime-time, the highest level of the price should be set lower than
the cheapest commercial ad within latest month;
The highest price set at periodical press outlets, online resources,
sites and other media should be set less than the cheapest commercial
From the start day of elections, "election period" regulations should
be applied in all TVs and radios, periodicals, other media resources'
news policy, both government and opposition should be given equal
coverage in news;
Balance should be ensured, a press group with equal participation of
sides should conduct controlling function;
Media bodies violating regulations should receive high fines and in
case they do not follow the rules after fines, their broadcasting or
publication should be temporarily ceased till the end of the voting day.
Registration and work of observers in elections
During voting day, observer should use his/her right to be in voting
room of election station at any time of the day, use dictophone and video
cameras, as well as other means of modern technology. The material
observers obtain during observaton via those technical means should be
considered as evidence obtained via legal way, relevant changes should
be made to Civic Procedural Code and Criminal Procedural Code.
Records of observation cameras should also be unconditionally
considered legally obtained evidence for courts, these records should be
critical at any dispute.
Legal force of the act compiled by observer should not be linked to
other persons' will and should be evaluated as one of direct evidences.
All norms on conduct of exit poll should be excluded from the Code,
any public body should freely conduct exit poll in any polling station and
constituency. As it carries public control character over election process,
getting CEC consent is of absurd nature.
Status of compatibility of Central Election Commission’s
acts of statutory nature with Electoral Code
Completion of protocol of election commission
1. The abovementioned inconsistence in the “Comment” should be
rectified, requirements of the Electoral Code and the recommendations of
the international institutions should be fulfilled.
2. All the norms regarding conduct of “exit-poll” should be removed from
the Electoral Code. “Exit-poll” should be conducted freely by any
organization within the territory of any constituency or precinct. Since this
is a kind of public control over the election process, it is not necessary to
get permission from the CEC for that.
Handling electoral complaints by the election commissions
3. Rules for submission and processing of electoral complaints should be
simplified, processing of complaints should be accessible to everyone whose
4. As international organizations have earlier recommended, composition of
the expert groups should be reviewed and new Groups composed of
independent lawyers capable to investigate the complaints fairly should be
created. In order to provide the investigation to be handled by a group
comprised of several experts, the related procedures should be amended.
The applicants should be invited to the investigation process by the expert
group for them to be able to submit their complaints as well as to
participate in the groups’ discussion of evidences. The investigation process
held by the expert group should be open for observers.
5. Extension of three-day requirement for investigation of complaint for
another three days should be removed;
6. Even if three-day requirement to submit the complaint has passed, this
period should be reinstated in the manner established for courts in case if
the applicant has objective cause;
7. Criminal liability should be established for not investigating or avoidance
of investigating as well as for not fulfilling the duties set forth by the
legislation for investigating the complaints;
8. Except for the applicant’s fault or voluntary refusal, non-participation of
the applicant in the investigation process should be the basis for
cancellation of the decision regarding that particular case.
9. Sanctions for actions violating the election rights which are considered
administrative offense or criminal case should be hardened. Moreover,
unavoidability of liability should be ensured;
10. Election subjects’ opportunities to appeal to the court on irregularities
regarding the election rights of administrative offense nature should be
expanded, handling of these irregularities should be simplified and be
11. Norms for considering results of elections invalid should be more
specified, and the requirement for approval of election results by the
Constitutional Court should be cancelled.
13. The media group equally formed of election subjects should have the
function of controlling election campaign activities on media.
14. The applicants should be invited to the investigation process by the
media group for them to be able to submit their complaints as well
as to participate in the group’s discussion of evidences. The
investigation process held by the media group should be open for
15. Number of members of the media group, rules for its formation, as
well as its functions should be clearly recorded in the act of the
16. Video records from the web cameras istalled for ensuring
transparency, increasing public confidence in elections should
be available to all election subjects, and use of such records as
evidence while investigating the complaints should be precisely
expressed in the Rules.
Specified suggestions and recommendations in the decisions
issued by the European Court of Human Rights and Committee
of Ministries of the Council of Europe with regard to election
cases related to Azerbaijan:
1. In order to achieve solution of the election cases by the courts
pursuant to unique practice and in compliance with the stipulations
of the European Convention of Human Rights, with adoption of the
relevant decision by the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan
in order to ensure the effective application of the
Administrative Procedural Code of Azerbaijan Republic (which had
entered into the force since 2011) in the administrative cases
regarding election disputes according to the Article 131 of the
Constitution of Azerbaijan Republic the explanation should be
issued to the courts for the judicial experience; members of the
should be provided with the relevant
instructions informing them in the details of the election process;
2. Effective trainings should be arranged in order to motivate the
judicial staff and members of the election commissions to apply
electoral legislation and the European Convention on Human
Rights, as well as ECtHR case-law in this regard;
3. Shortcomings in the procedure of verification of the election results
by the Constitutional Court of Azerbaijan Republic should be
eliminated in legislative way; in particular, relevant amendments to
the electoral law should be made in order to ensure participation of
complainer and candidate, who was registered and according to
initial results was elected and about whom is being complained, in
the procedures carried out by Constitutional Court.
4. In the present context, in order to ensure objective solution of the
election litigations, the appropriate reforms should be carried out in
Judicial-Legal Council and the additional measures should be
applied to reduce the role of the executive power in the issues of
appointment of judges, elevation of them and their administrative
responsibility and these issues should be transferred to the direct
supervision of Judicial-Legal Counsel;
Moreover, in order to improve the judicial practice on the cases
related to electoral disputes other opportunities suggested in CoE’s
Action Plan on Azerbaijan for 2014-2016 years should be reviewed
and cooperation with Venice Commission of the Council of Europe
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