Parliamentary Elections Held in Environment of Restriction of Freedoms - IDI

Baku / 26.12.19 / Turan: The Institute for Democratic Initiatives (IDI) distributed a pre-election evaluation document assessing the situation ahead of the February 9 parliamentary elections. The IDI notes that the decision to dissolve the parliament itself took place outside the framework of the Constitution and without taking into account international democratic practice.

The election situation is characterized by the use of administrative resources by the ruling party, the lack of dialogue between real political forces (power-opposition) and an unfavorable political atmosphere.

Despite the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, potential candidates for deputies retain a criminal record that impedes their participation in the elections.

In addition, elections are held in an atmosphere of severe restriction on the freedom of assembly and the paralysis of independent civil society institutions. The criminal case launched in 2014 against dozens of NGOs is still not closed.

There are no positive changes in the media environment. Courts are still heavily dependent on the executive branch and have long ceased to be independent.

The “reforms” announced by the authorities are decorative. The liquidation at the beginning of 2018 of the institution of representation in the courts effectively left the population without protection. There are not enough lawyers in the country, and their services have risen sharply.

The removal of lawyers entering political affairs makes legal protection difficult. Despite the decisions of the ECHR, electoral law and practice have not been brought into line with the requirements of the European Convention.

The CEC does not disseminate information on nominated candidates for deputies and their party affiliation. Data on the number of voters does not fit together. So, between the data of the CEC and the State Statistics Committee the difference is 21% - 2 140 098 voters.

In conclusion, the authors made a number of recommendations: to release political prisoners, remove criminal convictions from former political prisoners, remove restrictions on media freedom, remove restrictions on freedom of assembly, create conditions for free activity of NGOs, and stop government agencies from interfering in the election process and election commissions.

It is also recommended to allocate venues for rallies in the city center, not to create obstacles to the registration of independent and opposition candidates, organize debates on public television with their participation, immediately implement the decisions of the ECHR on violation of rights, ensure the independence of the judiciary, and ensure an effective and fair investigation of complaints violations during the election. –06D-

 

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