STRASBOURG, France—The embattled pro-Azerbaijani president of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, Pedro Agramunt, stepped down from his post on Friday citing “personal reasons.”
“Due to personal reasons today I decided to step down as head of the parliamentary assembly of the council of Europe,” Agramunt said in a post on Twitter, adding that he had taken the decision in consultation with his doctors.
PACE lawmakers were expected to impeach Agramunt during the October session of the parliamentary assembly and in April gave him a vote of no confidence, essentially barring him from presiding over the body.
The PACE officially affirmed Agramunt’s resignation. The organization’s senior vice-president, Britain’s Roger Gale, will serve as acting president for the body until a new election is held.
“Following the resignation the most senior Vice President, Sir Roger Gale automatically became the acting President,” reads an announcement posted on the PACE website.
In 2016, the European Stability Initiative in its report, described Agramunt as an ally of Azerbaijan.
“There are very few fellow members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) who have been to Azerbaijan as regularly over the past decade as Pedro Agramunt, the conservative Spanish senator, a businessman from Valencia. Agramunt has been consistent in this approach to Azerbaijan: from the very beginning of his relationship with Baku he has been a defender of the Aliyev regime. The latest monitoring report is his masterpiece,” the ESI report stated.
During the fall 2015 session of PACE, Agramunt emerged as a proponent of a resolution adopted by a sub-committee, which was authored by British Member of Parliament Robert Walter, whose report was pro-Azerbaijani and in the summer was granted Turkish citizenship.
Following the passage of the resolution and another, which centered on the use of the Sarsang Reservoir in Artsakh, the OSCE Minks Group co-chairmen warned international organizations to not interfere in the Karabakh conflict resolution processes issuing a similar rebuke to PACE.
Members of Armenia’s delegation commented on the Agramunt resignation, with Naira Zohrabyan telling Armenpress on Friday that the resignation announcement was made in order to avoid further humilitation.
She said if Agramunt were impeached, he would “go away with maximum humiliation. Therefore, in order to go away with minimal humiliation, he resigned.” She also commented on Agramunt’s claim that he had consulted his medical team before making the decision, saying that he made the decision “in line with the recommendation of his ‘political doctors.’”
Samvel Farmanyan, another PACE member from Armenia said that Argamunt made the decision to avoid impeachment during the session scheduled for Monday.
The PACE shows signs of rehabilitation,” Farmanyan said in a Facebook post.
Since PACE has announced investigations into the conduct of its members, with a focus on Azerbaijan lobbyists paying PACE members for favorable votes, Baku has expressed trepidations about the European body, with its president, Ilham Aliyev, threating to exit the Council of Europe.