STEPANAKERT (ARKA)—In response to an Azerbaijani campaign against upcoming local elections in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the NKR issued a statement describing the campaign as a “manifestation of phobia of [the] Azerbaijani leadership towards democratic processes in the NKR.”
“Along with aggravating the situation on the line of contact and repeated attempts of reconnaissance and sabotage, as well as using large caliber mortars and artillery to shoot at NKR positions, Azerbaijani authorities have launched a hysterical campaign against the ongoing democratic processes in the NKR,” the foreign ministry’s statement says.
Stepanakert says that a statement issued by Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry on August 31 condemning the elections on September 13 in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic contains the traditional set of baseless accusations against the NKR and Armenia.
“Condemnation of the municipal elections in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic by Azerbaijan is a manifestation of phobia of Azerbaijani leadership towards the democratic processes taking place in the NKR. This is especially evident against the background of the deteriorating situation with human rights and freedom of speech in Azerbaijan, where elections are an open ended process of inheritance, human rights activists and journalists are persecuted for dissent, and the population is deprived of the opportunity to fully realize their fundamental rights and freedoms. Bringing to the end any illusion of democracy in their country, the leadership of Azerbaijan does not fall short of attempts to impose its own ‘standards’ of human rights throughout the international community including its neighboring countries,” the NKR statement says.
“In this regard, we consider it necessary to note that in line with its commitment to democratic values and principles, the organization of public life and the formation of the NKR authorities are carried out solely by means of free, fair, transparent and competitive elections, which have become an integral part of the political culture of the NKR.”
The upcoming elections on September 13 are the sixth elections for the local government in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. The first municipal elections, including the election of the mayor of Stepanakert, were held on September 27, 1998.
Implementation of local self-government in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and safeguarding the rights of citizens to participate directly in the conduct of public affairs is regulated by the constitution of the NKR, in full compliance with international law and particularly with the European Charter of Local Self-Government
Attaching special importance to the institution of local self-government as a form of direct and representative governance by the people as well as the foundations of any democratic regime, authorities in Stepanakert have said that they will spare no effort to enhance its further development and strengthening.