Strasbourg, 6 March 2000

CG/Bur (6) 184

Report on local elections in Azerbaijan held on 12 December 1999

Rapporteur: Alan LLOYD (United Kingdom, L)

Document approved by the Congress Bureau on 29 February 2000

I. INTRODUCTION

Further to an invitation from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, a Congress Delegation observed local elections in this country on 12 December 1999 (cf. Appendix 1). As Congress' Rapporteur on local democracy in Azerbaijan, Mr Alan LLOYD accompanied the Delegation in order to gather information on the prospects of local democracy, simultaneously taking due account of the electoral process. Mr Lloyd headed the CLRAE Delegation during the observation mission.

After giving some general information on the political situation, this report describes the observation of the above elections. Further to its adoption by the Congress' Standing Committee, it should be transmitted to the Azerbaijani authorities. Later on, this report will be attached to a report on the prospects of local democracy in Azerbaijan which will be finalised by Mr LLOYD on making another visit to this country, from 9-12 March 2000. The CLRAE Bureau will adopt Mr Lloyd's final report by next Spring in view of its communication to the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly.

The International Relations Department of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) arranged the logistics, transport and interpretation of the observation mission of the CLRAE Delegation in co-operation with the President's Administration. The CLRAE Delegation should like to warmly thank the above department and the President's Administration for the exceptional welcome and the perfect organisation of the visit. The delegation was able to obtain information about the current electoral system and the run-up to the elections from a series of meetings arranged by the International Relations Department of the CEC (cf. Appendix 2), as well as from the observation of over 60 polling stations on the election day.

In particular, the delegation had meetings with the President of the Republic, the President of the Mili Mejlis (National Assembly), the President of the Central Electoral Commission, and other Azerbaijan authorities, as well as candidates and representatives of political parties, local and international observers. A meeting with Ambassadors of the Council of Europe member States was also arranged. During its visit to Azerbaijan, the CLRAE Delegation met a delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly. A working dinner was arranged with Mr Georges CLERFAYT, Rapporteur of the Legal Commission of the Parliamentary Assembly. This dinner gave Mr LLOYD an opportunity to exchange views with Mr CLERFAYT on the situation in the country with a view to the forthcoming meetings of the CLRAE Delegation with Azerbaijan authorities.

II. GENERAL INFORMATION

The Republic of Azerbaijan became an independent state in 1991. It is located in the Trans-Caucasian region of the Caspian Sea. It has common borders with Armenia, Georgia, Iran, the Russian Federation and Turkey. The total population of Azerbaijan is around 7.8 million, 53% of which lives in urban areas. 83% of the ethnic population are Azeri, and the official language is Azerbaijani. Islam is the principle religion, respected by more than 80 % of the population1.

Per capita Gross National Product is 318.5 US Dollars. The main sources of wealth are oil, natural gas and mineral resources. The majority of the population remains poor by international standards. The economic reforms of Azerbaijan are supported by the IMF, IBRD and EBRD.

The Republic of Azerbaijan established diplomatic relations with 134 other countries following its independence from the former Union of the Socialist Soviets Republics. It is a member of 30 international and regional organisations and is a Party to 110 treaties2.

Since the establishment of the independent Republic of Azerbaijan, the country has experienced a number of political upheavals as two successively elected or acting Presidents were ousted in 1992 and in 1993. Another factor that is important for the political stability is the territorial conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, which has resulted in the deaths of over 20 000 people. More than 900 000 people are estimated to live as refugees of displaced persons as a result of that armed conflict. They are faced with a serious problem of integration into their present surroundings. All these economic, social and political factors make the development of a democratic society in Azerbaijan more difficult.

The Constitution of Azerbaijan was put into effect in 1995. The referendum took place on the same day as the first legislative elections since the declaration of independence in 1991. The Constitution introduced a strong presidential regime and established the foundations of a unitary, secular, democratic state based on the respect for the rule of law and the separation of powers. However, there are doubts as to what extent, in practice, the principle of the separation of powers will be respected as a constant source of inspiration for all institutions concerned3. In other words, it is assumed that the influence of the centralised features of the former regime upon the present one will persist for some time to come.

The National Assembly (Milli Majlis) consists of 125 deputies. The majority party, namely the New Azerbaijan Party, under the leadership of the present President of the Republic, occupies 53 seats in the Parliament. As the Head of the central executive power, the President of the Republic has a strong position in the political life. He has the authority to appoint the Prime Minister and the ministers and the members of the executive authorities at both central and local level. The power of the President to decide on holding referenda and parliamentary elections enhances his position in case of conflict between himself and the Parliament. As such he occupies a dominant position within the State both in law and in practice.

His role in the formation of the Central Electoral Commission is another example of his powerful position that might create significant consequences. The Law on the CEC stipulates that half of the Commission's twenty-four members must be appointed by the Parliament and the rest by the President of the Republic. This formulation gives the incumbent President an apparent advantage particularly since the present Parliament is highly dominated by the political party of the President.

With this in mind, it should be observed that local authorities have never been elected in Azerbaijan but were appointed by the President of the Republic, representing the system of the central executive power at local level (“deconcentrated powers”). This is also true for the Governor of Baku who heads the "deconcentrated" City Administration, with 11 District Administrations being subordinated to it. The Governor will remain in office after municipal bodies are elected in all districts. The CLRAE Delegation was concerned about the future relationship between the local elected authorities and the locally acting central executive authorities. It stressed the importance to clarify these relationships in the future with a view to making a total distinction between responsibilities and functions of the bodies concerned.

There are now 2665 local entities in the country. This number had been reduced from 4500 as a result of the consultation carried out by central authorities a few months earlier. In accordance with the transitional provisions of the Constitution of Azerbaijan, the municipal elections were supposed to be held within 2 years from the date of the adoption of the Constitution, i.e. 12 November 1997, but they were postponed several times until the date of 12 December 1999 was established.

III. LEGAL FRAMEWORK

The main legislative texts on the local election process and local bodies are the Law on Rules for Municipal Elections and the Law on the Status of Municipalities.

These texts provide a good basis for the development of a genuine democratic and efficient local government system. However, as already mentioned, the question of the autonomy and accountability of local authorities and their relationship to the central authorities is not altogether clear. These aspects will be examined in the final report on local democracy in Azerbaijan.

It is worthwhile noting that just on the eve of the local elections, the Mili Mejlis (National Assembly) had passed two more laws:

- on Local Referendum

on Municipal Services.

Besides these, there are several bills, which have been discussed by the National Assembly. During the visit of the CLRAE Delegation, three of them passed the second reading:

Bill on Municipal Land;

Bill on Local Finances;

Bill on Municipal Property.

The delegation was informed that two more bills had been introduced to the National Assembly: on the Distribution of Competence between Municipalities and Local Executive Power Bodies and on the Status of Baku City.

Both bills are of particular interest to the delegation, as they could provide important guidelines on the future evolution of the system of 'deconcentrated powers' in the country. However, the delegation could not obtain copies of these bills during its visit, though it asked for them several times.

Chapters or articles on local self-government could also be found in the legal texts of the following laws:

Land Code;

Tax Code;

Law on Agrarian Reform;

Law on Property.

IV. THE LOCAL ELECTIONS PROCESS

1. The run-up period

According to official statistics, provided by the Central Election Commission (CEC), over 4.3 millions voters have been registered in the country. (The legislation allowed for the refugees and internal displaced persons to vote in the places of their temporary registration. In practice, the CLRAE Delegation did not have the opportunity to check if this legislation was implemented correctly during the electoral process). The voting was aimed at electing 21 087 members for 2 665 local councils4 (i.e. 2 665 municipalities). 26 political parties participated in the electoral process (cf. Appendix 3). For elections to be valid, a 25% or more turnout was requested.

In order to carry out the electoral process, the CEC set up 74 Territorial Electoral Committees (TECs) and 4 683 Precinct Electoral Commissions (PECs).

An Election Guide was circulated before the elections to all members of TECs and PECs. This text (also available in English) describes the role and responsibilities of electoral bodies, the opening of the procedures concerning the opening of polling stations, the voting process, the counting of the ballot papers, the report and the communication of the final results.

The CLRAE Delegation noted that approximately 18% of the members of the TECs belonged to political parties, over 30% to NGOs. The PECs comprised representatives of 21 political parties.

90 500 citizens were involved in organising the elections and more than 43 000 citizens asked the TECs to be registered as candidates. Nearly 51% of the above-mentioned citizens were independent and 49% were members of political parties. The CLRAE Delegation was informed that 35 600 citizens out of 43 000 were registered as candidates (their names were included on the ballot papers). It was reported to the CLRAE members that a large majority of these candidates belonged to the majority parties.

Observers from national NGOs, political parties and representatives of mass media took part in the electoral process. 27 865 observers of political parties and national NGOs were accredited by the CEC and got relevant ID cards.

33 observers from foreign countries and international organisations were also accredited (cf. Appendix 4).

Beside the CLRAE Delegation of the Council of Europe, the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe (IDEE), as well representatives of the Embassies of the United States of America and of Uzbekistan observed the elections. There were no observers from the OSCE.

During the meetings, Azerbaijani authorities stressed that all necessary conditions had been created for a broad participation of all political parties in the electoral process. The President of the Central Election Commission pointed out that the CEC had done a lot not only to establish territorial and precinct commissions and to train the staff but also to inform the population on the municipal elections through the mass media and special publications. According to the information provided by the CEC, more than thirty instructions had been prepared for the TECs and PECs and 300 000 copies of information brochures on municipal elections had been distributed among the population. Special courses on local elections had been organised for staff in co-operation with the IFES.

On the other hand, the electoral campaign on the part of the candidates and political parties was limited mainly to a few posters which the CLRAE Delegation saw on the walls of some buildings in the city. The interviews conducted by the CLARE members in the streets of Baku confirmed that, in central Baku, the population had been fairly well informed about the forthcoming municipal elections, though some lacked the necessary knowledge of their candidates and there were some problems with the information on the place of vote.

All the central authorities concerned claimed that all necessary conditions had been created for a broad political participation in the municipal elections. Nevertheless, there was a party – the National Independence Party – that expressed its intention to boycot the municipal elections. The Azerbaijani authorities did not seem willing to explain the real reasons of this boycott.

The CLRAE Delegation was surprised that the CEC did not report any particular problems concerning the electoral campaign. This was probably due to the fact that most of the candidates belonged to the majority parties.

When the CLRAE Delegation officially met representatives of political parties, very few complaints were reported. Taking into account the political climax normally existing before elections, the CLRAE Delegation concluded that the attitude showed by the above representatives was to some extent “ambiguous”.

According to the information provided by international observers, the National Independence Party was not the only party not taking part in the local elections. Other political parties had not even been registered. The CLRAE Delegation noted that the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan as such did not take part in the local elections, though it has six seats in the National Assembly.

The observers from the National Independence Party made it quite clear that the major reason for its boycott was a lack of confidence that the results of the elections would not be forged.

Some international observers met by the CLRAE Delegation before the polling day went so far as to claim that the results of the elections had been predetermined long before the election day. They lodged a number of complains as regards the pressure of the ruling majority on the opposition, obstacles created in the process of the registration of their candidates, discrimination in the press and electronic mass media, etc.

2. The Polling Day

On 12 December the delegation divided into five teams, two of which were deployed in Baku, the others in three regions North, West and South-West of Baku. Each team visited around ten polling stations and some TECs. Each team observed the polling and counting of the votes in one or two polling stations.

As a whole, polling took place smoothly and peacefully. The observers from different political parties (belonging to the majority and/or opposition, independent) and NGOs were present at many polling stations. The general climate was calm, open and friendly.

Nevertheless, a number of serious irregularities were observed :

Unauthorised persons were present in the polling stations and behaved obtrusively with the work of the election officials and voters;

A mismatch between signatures registered on the voting list and votes found in the ballot box;

Ballot stuffing;

Attempts to « mobilise » voting by PECs chairmen who seemed to think that such action was commendable

Unauthorised use of the mobile voting box;

Poor management of unused ballot papers;

Some local observers had their activities hampered

Addition of extra voters on the official list during the day of the election

Polling stations were often not opened in time

Electoral propaganda was displayed inside the polling stations

Ballot paper manipulations during the polling

Difficulties in the counting procedures

Family voting

Uncontrolled voting boxes

3. The day after the polling

The day after the polling the delegation met with the President of the CEC and its members and informed them about major results of the observation of the elections. It also met local and international observers. The conclusions of the local observers differed a lot depending on their party affiliation. The representatives of the ruling majority observed no serious irregularities and declared the elections fair and democratic in compliance with the law. Part of the opposition, especially the Mussovat Party and the National Independence Party and several associations, on the contrary, claimed that the elections could not be considered democratic and fair, referring to a great number of violations of the law and even forgeries, in particular as regards the quorum of voters. Both local and international observers noted a great number of irregularities during the polling day and the run-up to the election (see above).

After these meetings, on 13 December, on behalf of the CLRAE Delegation, Mr Lloyd made a press statement (see Appendix 5), which, inter alias, concluded that "by adopting a legislative basis for municipal elections, the authorities of the Republic of Azerbaijan have clearly indicated their will to go down the road of democratic reforms. Nevertheless, there are lessons to be learned for the future, in particular for the parliamentary elections in 2000. The future security and welfare of Azerbaijan depends on further improvements in the democratic process".

The CLRAE Delegation also confirmed its intention to prepare and distribute a report on the elections after the official results are published.

V. THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTIONS

After the elections, the CEC, International Relations Department, communicated to the Congress Secretariat the following general information:

- the elections were completed in 2 591 municipalities;

- 52.6% of 4 312 265 voters included to voter lists in the Republic participated in the voting process;

municipalities were elected in 51 cities, in 8 districts in cities, in 123 towns and 2409 villages;

- the results were cancelled in 60 municipalities by decisions of the CEC of the Republic of Azerbaijan and some TECs because of serious infringes that could influence the results of voting and accounting processes (163 polling stations). The CLRAE Secretariat noted that this decision affected the following districts, cities, towns and villages:

Narimanov, Tovuz, Oghuz and Shamakhi, Yasamal, Sabail, Bilasuvar, Gakh, Guba, Zagatala, Goychay, Saatli, Hajigabul, Shaki and Khachmaz and Adnali;

- the elections were not completed in 16 municipalities of some constituencies because of people's unsatisfactory participation.

- according to the Law "on the Rules of the Municipal Elections", new elections will be conducted in 76 municipalities5.

- 20 456 or 57.46 % of candidates were elected members of local councils.

Despite much activity for voter education, the CEC revealed that separate members of some election commissions were not well aware of the provisions of the Law on the Rules of Municipal Elections. This prevented this law from being implemented in the same way throughout the country.

The CEC proposed additional measures for the education and training of TECs members elected for a term of five years and was determined to organise special courses for election commission members together with the Public Administration Academy under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the future.

The Central Election Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan stated that considerations and faults pointed out by the observers of foreign countries and international organisations, especially representatives of the CLRAE, improved and will improve the activity of election commissions and help to eliminate faults in future works. This will be a strong factor for conducting the Parliamentary elections in 2000 on a democratic basis. One can observe that the cancellation of election results in some municipalities was decided by the CEC on the basis of the indications of the CLRAE Delegation.

On 11 January 2000, Mr Nizami Suleymanov, Chairman of the Independent Azerbaijan Party, addressed a letter, on behalf of 11 other political parties of Azerbaijan, to Mr Haller, Clerk of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, in which he denounced "(...) total falsification of municipal elections and non-consideration of the international organisations' [comments] concerning law on [the rules of] municipal elections (...)". On 4 February 2000, Mr Jafar Valyivev, Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission, addressed to Mr Lloyd a letter presenting the final results of the elections and the statistics related to these results, notably referring to the participation of the political parties (cf Appendix 6).

VI. CONCLUSIONS

The Azerbaijani authorities viewed the first municipal elections in the country as a clear indication of their will to go on with the process of democratisation. There were extremely high expectations from them in terms of the acceleration of the process of accession of Azerbaijan to the Council of Europe. One cannot deny that the holding of local elections is certainly a very important first step to institute local self-governments as an essential element of a democratic society.

However, there are other conditions to be met. Beyond the legal guarantees for their existence and operation, practical implementation of certain basic political rights and freedoms such as the freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly are vitally important.

An initial review of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan and of the relevant legislation on local self-government seems to indicate that the Republic of Azerbaijan has made a serious effort during the last few years to incorporate a number of the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government and the European Convention on Human Rights in its domestic legislation. The very concept of local self-government and its scope, the protection of local authority boundaries, appropriate administrative structures of local authorities, working conditions of elected and appointed officials, administrative control and supervision, financial resources of municipalities, the right to associate and the legal protection of the institution of local self-government are regulated in the Constitution and in the respective laws with a reasonable degree of consistency with the democratic values reflected in the principles of the European Charter.

There seems to exist an apparent intention and a serious effort on the part of the National Parliament and the Executive organ of the State to rely on democratically constituted local authorities as instruments of democratisation, effective administration and the decentralisation of power.

With this in mind, the role of the President of the Republic as the head of the central executive power in his relationships with various organs of local authorities should not constitute a deterrent for strengthening local self-government. In other words, the scope, nature and limits of the control and supervision of the central executive power over municipalities must be clearly defined.

In this respect, the final assessment of the compatibility of local acts with national interests has to be left to the judiciary if genuine local democratic institutions are to be constituted.

More particularly, the administration of Baku as a metropolitan centre needs to be given special consideration. Suitable models for democratic and efficient management of a city with more than 2 million inhabitants like Baku are usually based on the principle of federation among smaller units forming the metropolitan area to ensure both democratic representation and efficient administration. Within this context, administrative, legal and political relationships between the governor of Baku (appointed by the President of the Republic) and the elected municipal councils and the appointed representatives of districts have to be clearly defined. At present, the governor of Baku is not accountable to any elected council locally. All these questions will be raised in detail in the political report which will be drafted after the second visit of the Rapporteur to Baku.

Further to the elections, the Statement to the press made by Mr LLOYD on behalf of the CLRAE delegation seemed to be disappointing to Azerbaijani authorities. Nevertheless, they took it with due understanding and stressed their desire to continue co-operation in the field of local government. They made it quite clear that much needs to be done in terms of education and training of both elected and appointed officials. In this context, the CLRAE Delegation recommends that a special education and training programme should be elaborated for them that could be run with the assistance of ENTO.

The CLRAE Delegation confirms that the report on local elections should be regarded as part of an ongoing process and that the final political report of the Congress would be drawn up taking into account all legislative and practical progress already achieved in the country.

It now remains to observe the complementary elections to be held in 76 towns and municipalities on 26 March 2000 and to check whether progress can be observed since the first general local elections of 12 December 1999. This is all the more important in view of the fact that the Azerbaijani authorities have shown their willingness to take into account the conclusions of the Congress observers by cancelling the elections in 60 municipalities due to irregularities.

After examining the conclusions of the observation of these complementary elections, the competent body of the CLRAE might decide to invite the Azerbaijani authorities to appoint a special guest within the Congress. By giving this special guest status to local authorities of Azerbaijan, the Congress could contribute to the reinforcement of the newly established local self-government system in this country.

APPENDIX 1

OBSERVATION OF LOCAL ELECTIONS IN AZERBAIJAN

12 DECEMBER 1999

CLRAE DELEGATION

Members

Mr Joseph BORG (Malta, R)

Dr Gerhard ENGEL (Germany, R)

M. Jean-Claude FRECON (France, L)

M. Alan LLOYD (United Kingom, L)

M. Guy MILCAMPS (Belgium, L)

M. Fabio PELLEGRINI (Italy, L)

Mr Sofocolis SOFOCLEOUS (Cyprus, L)

M. Riccardo VENTURINI (San Marin)

Expert

Prof. Rusen KELES (Turkish member of the Committee of Independent Experts on the European Charter of Local Self-Government)

Secretariat

Mr Riccardo PRIORE

Mr Ivan VOLODIN

APPENDIX 2

Programme of the CLRAE delegation's visit

to the Republic of Azerbaijan

(9 – 13 December 1999)

9 December 1999, Thursday

11.00 Meeting with Mr. Mazahir Panakhov, Head of the

International Department, Central Electoral Commission of the

Republic of Azerbaijan (CEC)

15.00 Visit to Territorial Commission No 9 of Sabai District of Baku

and meeting with its Chairman, Mr Shukur Alizade

Visit to Polling station No 4 and meeting with Chairman and members

of a Precinct Commission

17.00 Interviews with the electorate in the streets of Baku

19.00 Supper with Mr Georges Clerfayt, Mr Allard Plate and Heads of

Departments of the President's Administration

10 December 1999, Friday

11.00 Meeting with Mr. Ramiz Mehdiyev, Head of the President's

Administration and Mr Yusif Humbatov, Head of the Local

Administration Department, and Heads of other Departments

13.00 Lunch at the Italian Embassy with the Ambassadors of the Council of

Europe member states (Italy, Germany, Greece, France, Norway, and

United Kingdom )

15.00 Meeting with Mr. Rafael Allahverdieyev, Governor of Baku, and

Senior Executive Officers of the City Administrations of Baku and

Sumgait

17.00 Meeting with His Excellency Heydar Aliyev, President of the

Republic of Azerbaijan

22.00 Supper with Mrs. Sudaba Hasanova, Minister of Justice of the

Republic of Azerbaijan

11 December 1999, Saturday

10.00 Meeting with Mr Jafar Valiyev, Chairman of the Central Electoral

Commission (CEC), and members of the Commission

11.30 Meeting with the representatives of Territorial Electoral Commissions

15.00 Meeting with Mr. Murtuz Aleskerov, Speaker of Milli Mejlis (Parliament) of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Meeting with Mr. Zahir Garasov, Chairman, and members of the

Commission on Local Administration (majority and opposition) of

Milli Mejlis

Meeting with candidates to municipalities from all parties concerned +

independent candidates (30-35 persons)

18.00 Meetings at the Central Electoral Commission with:

mass media representatives

other international observers (US Embassy, National Democratic Institute, International Federation for Electoral Systems, and IRI)

12 December 1999, Sunday

5.00 – 2.00 December 13

Observation of municipal elections

13 December 1999, Monday

11.00 Meeting with Mr Jafar Valiyev, Chairman, and members of the CEC

15.00 Meeting with local observers from political parties (majority and

opposition)

Meeting with international observers (see above) and

Mr. Roger Thomas, Ambassador of the UK, and

Mr. Alessandro Fallavollita, Ambassador of Italy

17.00 Meeting of Prof. Keles with Mr Ecvet Tezcan, Ambassador of

Turkey

20.00 Supper with Mr Jafar Valiyev, Chairman of CEC

APPENDIX 3

LIST OF THE PARTIES NOMINATING THEIR CANDIDATES

TO MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

New Azerbaijan Party

Azerbaijan National Independence Party

Musavat Party

Azerbaijan Popular Front Party

Azerbaijan Democratic Independence Party

Azerbaijan Communist Party

Azerbaijan Socail-Democratic Party

"Ana Vatan" Party

Independent Azerbaijan Party

Azerbaijan Social Welfare Party

Azerbaijan Compatriot's Party

Azerbaijan Democratic Owner's Party

Azerbaijan Unity Party

Citizens' Solidarity Party

National Congress Party

Azerbaijan Republicans' Party

Azerbaijan Peasant's Party

Azerbaijan National Statehood Party

Azerbaijan Common Communist Party

Azerbaijan Liberal-Democratic Party

Azerbaijan Democratic Enlightenment Party

Azerbaijan Popular Party

Social-Justice Party

Azerbaijan Liberal Party

Azerbaijan Popular Democratic Party

Common Azerbaijan National Unity Party

APPENDIX 4

LIST OF INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS

PARTICIPATING IN THE MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

IN THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN

Council of Europe : Alan LLOYD

Guy MILCAMPS

Joseph BORG

Gerhard ENGEL

Jean-Claude FRECON

Fabio PELLEGRINI

Sofoclis SOFOCLEOUS

Riccardo VENTURINI

Rusen KELES

Riccardo PRIORE

Ivan VOLODINE

IFES : Şehla MAHMUDOVA

Feride BABAYEVA

Afiq CAHANGIROV

Michael SVETLIC

Alan WALL

Roger THOMAS

IRI, BRI : John ALVIS

Emin ABDULLAYEV

USA Embassy : Azad DAŞDEMIR

Sherri HOLLIDAY

Craig DICKER

Crystal ERWIN

Anadolu Ajansi : Muterem ERKUL

Cağ Aksel ATAY

NDI : Peter Van PRAAGH

Mehriban MAMMADOVA

Cara ABERCROMBIE

Minaya SAFAROVA

Ambassador of Uzbekistan : Abduraxmanov Abdugafur Sattarovic

APPENDIX 5

Local elections in Azerbaijan:

a step forward for local democracy, but irregularites prejudice the electoral process

STRASBOURG, 17.12.99 – Head of the CLRAE delegation to observe local elections in Azerbaijan Alan LLOYD (United Kingdom) has made the following statement on behalf of the delegation:

“The COUNCIL OF EUROPE's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities (CLRAE) observed the Municipal Elections in the Republic of Azerbaijan, which took place on 12 December 1999. The observation represents a part of the CLRAE's report on the perspectives of local democracy in this country, in view of Azerbaijan's accession to the Council of Europe. The observation was done in co-ordination with other international observers.

The CLRAE delegation takes this opportunity to thank the Azerbaijan authorities for their warm hospitality and a very efficient organisation of the visit.

The delegation welcomes these elections because they represent a first step towards democracy at local level.

The following is a summary of the election observation:

The CLRAE visited around 60 polling stations. Although the general climate was calm, open and friendly, the delegation observed a number of serious irregularities, the nature of which could prejudice the electoral process.

The following are the main problems:

Unauthorised persons were present in the polling stations and behaved obtrusively with the work of the election officials and voters;

A mismatch between signatures registered on the voting list and votes found in the ballot box;

Ballot stuffing;

Unauthorised use of the mobile voting box;

Poor management of unused ballot papers;

Addition of extra voters on the official list during the day of the election

The CLRAE delegation believes that by adopting a legislative basis for municipal elections, the authorities of the Republic of Azerbaijan have clearly indicated their will to go down the road of democratic reforms. Nevertheless, there are lessons to be learned for the future, in particular for the parliamentary elections in 2000. The future security and welfare of Azerbaijan depends on further improvements in the democratic process.The CLRAE will prepare and distribute a provisional report on the elections after the official results are published.”

APPENDIX 6

To Mr. Alan Lloyd,

Head of the Delegation

of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

of Europe that observed the Municipal Elections

in the Republic of Azerbaijan

Dear Mr. Lloyd,

We have already informed the relevant governmental bodies on your expected visit to Azerbaijan on March 2000, your intention to meet with the representatives of Central Authority in Baku and wish to get some draft laws.

I send you the final returns of the Municipal Elections (Annex 1). I would like to mention that these returns concern the Elections held on December 12. As you know, by-elections were appointed in some municipalities with a decision by the CEC.

In addition to the primary results of the Elections that were sent to you, I would like to inform that 26 of political parties functioning in Azerbaijan took part in these Elections. In reality elections were not boycotted by any party. Even hundreds of members of the Azerbaijan National Independence Party (ANIP) that stated to boycott the elections, participated in the elections beginning from the formation of the lottery commissions to the nominating candidates for municipalities and 83 of them were elected to the municipalities. It is also transparently indicated on the forwarded statistics (Annex 2) on the results of the participation of the political parties in the elections.

As regards the formation of Territorial and Precinct Election Commissions (TEC and PEC) in pre-election period, remarks by political parties concerning with decisions and measures by TECs and PECs, as well as infringes in voting and counting in the Election Day, it should be noted that CEC accepted a number of statements, appeals, complaints from some parties, public unions and their local branches.

The CEC operatively discussed those appeals and complaints. A part of them were forwarded to relevant TECs and law-protection bodies for investigation.

The CEC members and officials of the CEC Apparatus closely took part in the investigations of appeals and complaints. They were on missions to more than 60 cities and regions of the Republic to this end.

A number of leaders of political parties and public unions were received by the heads and members of the CEC, as well as officials of the CEC Apparatus in connection with election issues.

The results of investigations were discussed in the meetings of the CEC or TECs and relevant decisions were adopted. At the result of these, the results of lottery for the formation of TECs in Yasamal constituency # 4 (Baku City) and Shaki constituency # 20, and some PECs in constituencies Azizbayov # 3, Surakhani # 10 in Baku City, Kapaz # 12 and Nizami #13 in Ganja City, Gazakh # 32 were canceled and the personnel were re-formed.

Besides it, as we informed you, the elections to municipalities of Narimanov District in Baku City, Oghuz, Tovuz and Shamakhi Cities, some villages and towns in Balakan, Bilasuvar, Gakh, Guba, Zagatala, Goychay, Lankaran, Masalli, Saatli, Sabirabad, Salyan, Hajigabul, Shaki, Xachmaz and some other districts, were not completed or invalidated because of infringes.

Generally, the CEC appointed by-elections to 76 municipalities (includes 178 polling stations) in 26 election territories on March 26, 2000 according to the CEC legislation because of incomplete Municipal Elections or infringes that can influence the election returns.

Distinguished Mr. Lloyd, on behalf of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan I express my gratitude to you for your sincere wish and concern about development of election democratization in our country.

Kind regards,

Jafar Valiyev

The Chairman

of the Central Election Commission

of the Republic of Azerbaijan











Annex 2 - The information on party membership of the citizens elected on December 12, 1999 to municipalities within the election territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan

1: Names and numbers of election territories
2: Number of persons elected
3: New Azerbaijan Party
4: Azerbaijan Popular Front Party
5: Musavat Party
6: Azerbaijan Social-Welfare Party
7: "Ana Vatan" Party
8: Azerbaijan Republicans' Party
9: Azerbaijan Popular Party
10: Azerbaijan Communist Party
11: Citizens' Solidarity Party
12: Azerbaijan National Independence Party
13: Azerbaijan Democratic Owner's Party
14: Azerbaijan Liberal Party
15: Azerbaijan Popular Democratic Party
16: Azerbaijan Peasant's Party
17: Common Azerbaijan National Union Party
18: Independent Azerbaijan Party
19: Azerbaijan Compatriot's Party
20: Azerbaijan National Statehood Party
21: Azerbaijan Democratic Independence Party
22: Azerbaijan Democratic Enlightenment Party
23: Azerbaijan Social-Democratic Party
24: Social-Justice Party
25: National Congress Party
26: Union Party
27: Azerbaijan Liberal-Democratic Party
28: Azerbaijan Common Communist Party
29: I m p a r t I a l

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

Binagadi Election Territory # 1

62

13

5

2

0

0

1

2

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

36

Garadagh Election Territory # 2

101

35

4

2

7

4

3

2

0

17

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

18

9

Azizbayov Election Territory # 3

118

11

2

4

5

1

2

2

0

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

89

Yasamal Election Territory # 4

19

6

1

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

Narimanov Election Territory # 5 *

                                                     

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

Nasimi Election Territory # 6

19

2

0

2

1

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

12

Nizami Election Territory # 7

32

19

2

3

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

6

Sabunchu Election Territory # 8 **

104

25

5

11

3

2

1

0

2

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

1

0

49

Sabail Election Territory # 9

39

4

6

1

1

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

23

Surakhani Election Territory # 10

84

73

3

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

5

Khatai Election Territory # 11

30

7

3

3

1

1

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

13

Kapaz Election Territory # 12

28

13

4

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

Nizami Election Territory # 13

19

10

4

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

Sumgayit Election Territory # 14

45

4

2

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

36

Ali-Bayramli Election Territory # 15

26

11

4

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

9

Yevlakh Election Territory # 16 **

271

81

7

3

6

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

172

Lankaran Election Territory # 17

554

156

11

7

6

1

0

0

3

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

368

Mingachevir Election Territory # 18

19

6

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

9

Shaki Election Territory # 20

524

327

10

25

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

2

150

Absheron Election Territory # 21

147

21

5

1

0

0

1

1

0

2

1

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

110

Aghdam Election Territory # 22

80

54

2

7

1

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

11

Aghdash Election Territory # 23 **

421

60

13

15

9

18

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

303

Aghstafa Election Territory # 24

217

54

18

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

140

Aghsu Election Territory # 25 **

398

304

6

4

0

0

2

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

79

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

Aghjabadi Election Territory # 26

392

331

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

56

Astara Election Territory # 27

376

154

9

4

0

0

0

0

0

2

6

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

199

Balakan Election Territory # 28 **

186

55

16

9

3

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

101

Beylagan Election Territory # 29

348

153

9

37

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

13

0

0

0

132

Barda Election Territory # 30

762

371

23

11

9

28

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

318

Bilasuvar Election Territory # 31 **

207

88

24

15

7

0

0

0

3

0

3

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

64

Gazakh Election Territory # 32 **

197

96

24

8

6

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

60

Gakh Election Territory # 33 **

324

117

2

41

49

0

0

0

0

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

112

Gabala Election Territory # 34

413

278

23

18

11

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

82

Gobustan Election Territory # 35

194

75

8

4

15

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

92

Guba Election Territory # 36 **

732

282

11

13

5

2

8

0

0

0

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

407

Gusar Election Territory # 38

496

137

0

0

0

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

352

Dashkasan Election Territory # 39

210

40

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

170

Davachi Election Territory # 40

233

114

22

15

4

0

6

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

71

Zagatala Election Territory # 41 **

255

114

3

27

8

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

102

Zardab Election Territory # 43

313

79

12

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

217

Imishli Election Territory # 44 **

412

97

19

28

1

11

1

1

2

0

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

9

0

0

0

238

Ismayilli Election Territory # 45

411

301

13

4

0

7

0

0

0

0

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

0

78

Yardimli Election Territory # 46

424

110

24

11

0

0

0

0

0

30

1

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

240

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

Kurdamir Election Territory # 48

463

151

18

5

4

0

0

0

0

0

7

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

278

Gadabay Election Territory # 49

392

82

19

13

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

274

Goranboy-Naftalan Election Territory # 50

437

262

4

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

170

Goychay Election Territory # 51 **

325

204

15

13

25

0

0

0

0

0

5

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

59

Lerik Election Territory # 53 **

586

197

12

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

5

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

368

Masalli Election Territory # 54 **

795

249

51

35

0

1

0

1

4

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

1

0

0

2

0

0

445

Neftchala Election Territory # 55

231

150

34

6

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

39

Oghuz Election Territory # 56 **

218

49

7

17

1

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

139

Saatli Election Territory # 57 **

313

97

31

12

0

2

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

167

Sabirabad Election Territory # 58 **

531

63

31

47

3

0

0

11

3

0

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

367

Salyan Election Territory # 59 **

355

167

45

10

14

4

0

0

0

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

107

Samukh Election Territory # 60

277

102

6

3

2

6

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

154

Siyazan Election Territory # 61

102

21

3

5

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

71

Tartar Election Territory # 62 **

359

161

5

28

1

12

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

149

Tovuz Election Territory # 63 **

421

107

5

4

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

297

Ujar Election Territory # 64

227

64

11

6

9

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

0

0

0

1

0

0

130

Fuzuli Election Territory # 65

162

73

0

20

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

69

Khanlar Election Territory # 66

234

38

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

195

Khachmaz Election Territory # 67 **

490

127

2

12

16

12

24

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

295

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

Khizi Election Territory # 68

82

36

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

44

Hajigabul Election Territory # 71 **

171

123

12

2

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

31

Jalilabad Election Territory # 73 **

838

228

25

4

35

6

0

0

3

0

3

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

533

Shamakhi Election Territory # 74 **

350

269

3

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

72

Shamkir Election Territory # 75 **

476

365

10

7

0

0

0

0

1

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

87

Nakhchivan Election Territory # 77

17

7

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

7

Babak Election Territory # 78

313

61

10

1

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

237

Ordubad Election Territory # 79

137

52

10

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

72

Sadarak Election Territory # 80

20

18

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Julfa Election Territory # 81

181

137

3

2

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

36

Shahbuz Election Territory # 82

175

67

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

107

Sharur Election Territory # 83

534

290

19

9

1

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

213

T o t a l :

20454

8305

754

618

285

140

60

25

29

64

83

27

6

0

7

0

10

1

0

3

8

10

2

23

15

1

27

9951




* By-elections were appointed on March 26, 2000 in all election territories in which the election returns were canceled.



** By-elections were appointed on March 26, 2000 in some municipalities with incomplete or invalidated electionsin the election territories.



J. Valiyev
Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan

1 Azerbaijan Human Development Report 1996 prepared for Habitat II.

2 Report on the Conformity of the Legal Order of Azerbaijan with Council of Europe Standards by R.Bernhardt and M.A.Nowicki, AS/Bor/Azerbaijan, 1997/1

3 Report on the Conformity of the Legal Order of Azerbaijan with Council of Europe Standards by Bernhardt and Nowicki, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 1997)

4 Mayors will be elected by the local councils

5 New elections will take place on 26 March 2000. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan invited the CLRAE to send a delegation to observe them.



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