Opposition Holds Election Debate

Baku/06.09.19/Turan: Sustainable stability in the country can be achieved only as a result of the democratic and free expression of the will of the people. These are the general conclusions of the round table held on September 6 in the office of the Musavat party with the participation of Musavat, PFPA, REAL, as well as public organizations and experts.

This year, municipal elections will be held in Azerbaijan, and parliamentary elections in the future. "Free and fair elections can take place only if a democratic election situation is created. This implies the democratization of the electoral law, the creation of an atmosphere of equal political competition," said Musavat leader Arif Hajili when opening the meeting. The current government does not fulfill its own constitution and its own international obligations. Democratic forces should force the authorities to hold fair elections, he said. The head of the Mejlis of the Popular Front Party, Nuraddin Mammadli, said his party was ready for joint action with other political forces to create a democratic atmosphere in the country. Existing legislation and practice, as well as the composition of election commissions, do not make it possible to hold democratic elections. "We must unite and force the authorities to ensure fair elections, as the democrats did in Georgia, Ukraine, Tunisia and Armenia," he said. He denied allegations that the Popular Front Party calls for a boycott of the election.

"The Popular Front Party and the National Council do not discuss the issue of boycotting the elections. The PFPA"s strategy is not to boycott, but to achieve democratic elections peacefully," he stressed. The executive secretary of the REAL party, Natig Jafarli, believes that citizens" confidence in the election process needs to be restored. However, he is convinced that the authorities will not democratize legislation and will not agree to the use of a proportional election system. "What should we do in this situation? We must return people's faith in the elections and urge them to go to the polls, not rallies. If we have not been able to bring 100,000 people to the rally for years, we must prepare a smart voting strategy and restore electoral institutions and call people to the polls," he said. In the course of further discussions, the roundtable participants called for an increase in the number of members of parliament from 125 to 201, a change in the composition of election commissions taking into account the recommendations of the Venice Commission, an increase in the powers of municipalities, the creation of single city municipalities, and the involvement of short-term and long-term OSCE ODIHR observers in the election process. -03B-

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