The Azerbaijan Public Chamber on June 21st held a round table discussion on the proposed amendments to the Electoral Code of Azerbaijan. About 60 participants attended the public debate which was moderated by Mr. Vidadi Mirkamal, the chairman-in-office for the Coordination Council of the Public Chamber. There was one keynote speaker, Mr. Hafiz Hasanov, an elections expert, who presented his views on the general electoral environment in the country as well as his suggestions for potential amendments, generating further discussion. After the panelists spoke, several party leaders, NGO heads and experts were involved in an interactive discussion that brought forward a wide range of electoral concerns. This included the seven priority recommendations made by the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission following the 2010 Parliamentary Elections that left all major opposition parties without a single seat in the parliament.
Asked to comment about the results of the meeting, Razi Narullayev, Deputy Chairperson for Foreign Affairs of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan said ‘We were able to agree on the establishment of a Working Group with representatives of political parties, civil society and independent experts in order to develop specific proposals on the priorities and potential amendments to be made to the Electoral Code of Azerbaijan. The participants of the roundtable decided that the Working Group should have the amendments prepared by mid-September of this year so that they can be finalized and submitted to Parliament for the October session.’
During the round table, participants noted the importance of cooperation with the OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe. Participants decided to also send the potential amendments to the above-mentioned agencies as well as to conduct consultations with them during the preparations.