International Observers Hail Artsakh Vote as Fair and Democratic

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A group of European observers meet with Artsakh President Bako Sahakian

A group of European observers meet with Artsakh President Bako Sahakian

STEPANAKERT—More than 100 observers representing 30 countries converged on Artsakh over the weekend as official observers of a Constitutional Referendum, which was overwhelmingly approved by Artsakh voters. Under the new constitution, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was changed to the Artsakh Republic and its government was changed to a presidential system.

The observers, who deemed Monday’s referendum as fair and democratic hailed from France, Germany, Abkhazia, Austria, Spain, the UK, Russia, the Basque Country, Argentina, Uruguay, the US and other countries.

Of course, Azerbaijan called the referendum illegal with its foreign ministry announcing that all international observers would be included in Baku’s notorious blacklist

Members of the European Parliament Frank Engel, Eleni Theocharous and Jaromir Stetina issued the following joint statement on the Constitutional Referendum in Artsakh.

“On the 20th February, the people of Artsakh voted on the draft Constitution that the authorities of the Republic submitted to their consideration. The turnout of over 76% is resounding proof of the intention of Artsakh voters to take an active part in the shaping on their democracy. The vote took place after a campaign during which both camps expressed their ideas and convictions freely. Promoters and opponents of the draft Constitution confronted their positions in the parliamentary and public debate.

The people of Artsakh said yes to their new constitution, which heralds significant changes in the institutional functioning of the country. It also clearly spells out that the Republic of Artsakh upholds and protects the rule of law and the rights and the freedoms of the people. This message, relayed by the population of Artsakh through their decisive approval of the draft constitution is particularly significant in the South Caucasus.

A people, a population, a nation who believe in their state and refine their republican institutions should not be ignored by the international community. These people, these voting citizens exist. Their existence is not affected by the absence of international recognition of their country. The people of Artsakh, a nation under constant threat of military attack by an aggressive neighbor, continue to oppose democratic vitality and maturity to the international denial of their state.”

Artsakh Foreign Minister Karan Mirzoyan (left) with Oscar López Goldaracena, an Uruguayan human rights lawyer

Artsakh Foreign Minister Karan Mirzoyan (left) with Oscar López Goldaracena, an Uruguayan human rights lawyer

Argentine Deputy Brenda Austin and Oscar López Goldaracena, an Uruguayan human rights lawyer, traveled to Nagorno-Karabakh in a delegation led by the director of the Armenian National Committee of Buenos Aires, Nicolas Sabuncuyan, to monitor the constitutional referendum to be held next February 20.

López Goldaracena is part of the Nagorno-Karabakh Forum in Uruguay, which brings together legislators, academics and social activists, with the objective of supporting the self-determination of the population of Karabakh and the peaceful solution to this conflict. Before arriving in Artsakh, Brenda Austin met with Armenia’s Diaspora Minister Hranush Hakopyan.

All international observers met with President Bako Sahakian and Foreign Minister Karen Mirzoyan.

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