OSCE ODIHR Calls for Electoral Reform Process in Azerbaijan

WARSAW (Armenpress)–The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) called on Tuesday for the reform process leading to the adoption of new election legislation in Azerbaijan to be transparent and inclusive–OSCE media information service told Armenpress.

"While it is the sovereign right of a state to reform its election system–such fundamental legislative changes should be based on a broad political consensus in order to ensure widest public confidence in the reform process and its outcomes," said Ambassador Geacuterard Stoudmann–Director of the ODIHR.

Upon request by the government–the ODIHR will issue recommendations on the draft election code reflecting international standards as it has been consistent practice in such cases in Azerbaijan and other OSCE countries. Following the publication of the draft election code by the authorities of Azerbaijan–a series of round tables to discuss the draft will be held with the participation of key actors interested in the electoral reform process.

To ensure a fully informed debate–the ODIHR will distribute its commen’s on the draft code in advance of the round tables. The ODIHR believes that a timely release of the draft election code will also contribute to the inclusiveness–openness and transparency of the process.

The ODIHR has begun consultations with all key actors interested in the reform of the election code–including of course the authorities. Recent accusations by one of the opposition parties that the ODIHR had established "secret relations" with the authorities therefore are completely groundless–particularly given discussions held with representatives of the party in question in Warsaw just a few days ago. The ODIHR also wishes to clarify that–contrary to what was reported in the Azeri media–the Office was not invited to comment on the recently adopted Referendum Act.

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