STEPANAKERT—In view of the recent parliamentary elections in Artsakh, a number of European scholars and officials have voiced their convictions that the elections contributed to Artsakh’s strong democracy and adhered to European standards.
Laurence Broers, British political scientist, editor of Caucasus Survey and a research associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, told World Politics Review Wednesday that Artsakh elections, consistently held since 1994, have proven that Artsakh is a democratic republic in stark contrast to Azerbaijan.
Broers noted that there are currently two “parties of power” in Nagorno Karabakh: the Free Motherland party, which was the recent winner in the parliamentary elections, and the Democratic Artsakh party. Two opposition parties, the Movement-88 party and the National Revival party, also achieved representation in the recent elections.
“Despite the discourse and architecture of de facto statehood in Nagorno Karabakh, I think the local desire for independence is extremely relative. Independence was never the goal of the Karabakh movement, and most officials in the territory agree that unification with Armenia is the ultimate aim,” Broers said.
Member of the European Parliament Frank Engel, during a visit to Stepanakert, said that Nagorno Karabakh demonstrated progress in state-building and strengthening of democratic values. As the Caucasian Knot reports, Engel believes that a more active disposition of the EU towards an unrecognized state can promote this process.
“I see that there are great achievements in the area of state-building and democratic values in Nagorno Karabakh. The EU should be more active for further development. We welcome the fact that the Nagorno Karabakh is positive about European values,” said Engel.
Frank Engel called Azerbaijan’s policy towards Armenia “aggressive,” adding that it could lead to the recognition of Nagorno Karabakh by the international community. “It is important that the process of international recognition began after the full settlement of the Karabakh conflict,” Engel said.
Laszlo Kemeny, a Hungarian Professor of political science, who observed the latest elections in Artsakh, told ArmInfo that the parliamentary elections in Artsakh were legitimate, democratic and transparent in all aspects.
Kemeny said it was his second visit to Arstakh. “As observer, I first visited Karabakh during the presidential election in 2012. On May 3, I was among 110 accredited foreign observers in Artsakh. Together with my 9 colleagues from Belgium, Hungary, Czech Republic, Estonia, and Israel we represented the International expert Center for Electoral Systems (ICES). Significant changes have been made to the country over the last three years. It is evident that the country has become better organized, the living standards have been improved, and the people are more confident now,” he said.
“Members of our delegation analyzed the preparations for the elections, the quality of related laws and rules based on the NKR Constitution, and the transparency of the election campaigns. Our specialists observed the voting process at 78 polling stations. In its final communique, the Observation Mission said the elections were held in conditions of democratic and competitive fight and the turnout was very high – above 70%. International observers also welcomed the high quality of organization and conduct of the elections in Karabakh saying it is another step towards building a legitimate democratic state,” the Hungarian expert said.
“The elections once again proved to the world community that the most important thing for the population of the given territory is to have own will; the right to the self-determination. The people of Artsakh have liberated their historical motherland at great cost and are now proudly developing it and caring for it. The elections showed that this independent state is viable and its people have a high feeling of political responsibility even in the current tense international situation. I cannot say whether such behavior of the Karabakh people will lead to the international recognition of the NKR, but one thing is clear for me: ‘unrecognized states’ are becoming reality, becoming the subjects of the world community, as their own peoples ‘recognize’ and legitimate them,” Kemeny said.