APPEAL Of Musavat Party with respect to the Presidential Election to be held in the Republic of Azerbaijan in October, 2013.
Musavat Party, which has a status of a leading opposition party in Azerbaijan, has existed for 100 years. Musavat Party have led the process of declaration of independence of Azerbaijan twice in 1918 and 1991. Musavat Party is a member of the European Liberal-Democrat Union.
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was declared on 28 May 1918. The Republic of Azerbaijan is considered the first democratic country of the Muslim East. This country surpassed many countries of the world by becoming the first country in the East to recognize universal suffrage. By this the people of Azerbaijani stated its readiness and merit for democracy as early as the early XX century.
In 1920 bolsheviks occupied Azerbaijan with the support of the Russian army and started establishing a communist regime in the country. Despite enduring for 70 years this structure could not prove itself as a state system and in 1991 Azerbaijan restored its independence.
Unfortunately since the 1992 presidential election all referendums and elections held in the country, particularly after accession to the Council of Europe, were considered “as a step towards democracy” by the international organizations, but they were not assessed as free, fair, transparent and democratic.
For the first time in Azerbaijan the elections were considered to fall short of international standards, it was stated that, no progress towards democracy was achieved, preliminary opinions on existence of serious and very serious problems in 1/3 of the election polls during vote count were stated at the 2010 parliamentary elections.
According to the reports of a number of international organizations, including OSCE and the USA State Department, political conditions prior to those elections were even less democratic comparing to the previous ones, conditions for equal political competition became further limited, administrative resources were used in support of the pro-government candidates. By this the opportunity to form the government structures in Azerbaijan in accordance with popular will through democratic elections was lost once again.
As a result weak belief of voters in possibility of achieving of any change in the country through elections was completely shaken.
The presidential election is coming up in Azerbaijan in October of this year. Pre-election atmosphere in the country does not give a lot of hope to believe that, normal elections will be held.
Freedom of press, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and expression, along with freedom of assembly, freedom of movement of leaders of political parties planning to run their candidacies for presidency within the country, right to hold political meetings in the regions for leaders of political parties are virtually cancelled.
Without presenting any plausible reason columnist of Yeni Musavat newspaper and deputy chairman of Musavat Party Tofig Yagublu, chairman of REAL movement and its candidate for presidency Ilgar Mammadov, 7 members of N!DA Civic Movement (including 3 board members), advisor of chairman of Musavat Party Yadigar Sadigov and dozens of religious people were arrested since the beginning of this year. Fines against the protest youth have been highly increased. In a word, the country is moving from authoritarianism to dictatorship.
Aforementioned facts are reflected in the reports of the international organizations.
Recommendations made for carrying out of democratic reforms in electoral legislation, including those made by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe concerned with amendment to the Constitution on abolishing the limit for presidential terms, which is claimed to be against democratic values, was ignored by the authorities.
Despite insistent recommendations of local political and public organizations, along with international organizations problems in the sphere of forming of the content of electoral commissions in accordance with trust of leading political forces, observing principle of parity when dividing positions in the electoral commissions, organizing observation, accepting and objective investigation of complaints. As a result, all the election commission and positions in all the election commissions will be under control of the government through vote majority prior to the upcoming presidential election.
The Constitution adopted in 1995 and the Electoral Code adopted in 2003 was later amended and became more reactionary. The Electoral Code was brought to a condition, in which it can only serve the victory of a pro-government candidate.
I would like to draw your attention to a particularly important topic.
Participation and opinion of international observers at elections in Azerbaijan can play some role in carrying out of democratic elections. But the government has priority in this issue as well. According to the article 44.2. of the Electoral Code, international observers can be invited by the parliament of Azerbaijan, corresponding executive authorities and the Central Election Committee. It is obvious that, invitation of international observers is under control of the government. Independent candidates, political parties and public organizations do not have a right to invite international observers.
Considering the aforementioned, we ask You – people supporting democratic values, to support Azerbaijan’s democratic forces, who have chosen integration to Europe for the purpose of development of democracy. We ask You to:
1. Raise the issue of the provision accepted by the democratic forces of the world on banning candidacies of persons, who want to run for their third presidential term, in front of organizations and state structures, where you are represented, in order to apply this provision for Azerbaijan as well;
2. Ask representatives of your organizations to appeal to the organizations, which have a right to send international observers to Azerbaijan – the European Union, the European Parliament, OSCE, OSCE ODIHR, the Council of Europe, PACE, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, USA State Department, parliaments of the Euopean countries to include them to their lists;
3. Support Azerbaijani people in holding democratic election by international observers accepting the importance of observing the election in a single election station from the moment when it opens and until getting the copy of the election protocol, taking into account that, the government will attempt to falsify the election.
It should also be noted that, a number of forms and kinds of fraud carried out at the elections in Azerbaijan has increased from 13 to 65. International observer being absent from the election station for even an hour enables the election commissions to carry out the falsifications. Therefore we ask the aforementioned from the international observers.
International observers willing and invited to take part in the presidential elections in Azerbaijan in October can address to firstname.lastname@example.org – e-mail address or to +99450/455 210 37 83 phone number.
Important note: During preparation of the document the National Council of Democratic Forces of Azerbaijan was established. The National Council unites leading opposition parties, NGO representatives, intellectuals and independent experts. The National Council has expressed its will to participated at the presidential election with a united candidate. Oscar prize-winner, movie scriptwriter Rustam Ibrahimbayov was chosen as a united candidate by the National Council. Musavat Party supports the idea of Rustam Ibrahimbayov being a united candidate of the National Council. If for any reason Rustam Ibrahimbayov is not able to participate at the election, Musavat Party is willing to take part in the election with its own candidate.
Thanks for your attention!