Strasbourg, 25 April 2001

Report on the follow-up 2001 CG/INST (7) 37

Report on the follow-up of the situation of local and regional democracy in new member States : Armenia and Azerbaijan

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Follow up of the situation of local and regional democracy in new member States : Armenia and Azerbaijan

ARMENIA

- What would be the time-scale for the finalisation of the draft law on local self government and its adoption (keeping in mind the commitment to sign and ratify the European Charter on local Self-Government)?

- What steps are envisaged for finalising the draft law, on territorial administration and within what time-scale? The same information would be welcomed on the draft law on the status of Erevan.

- Have the Armenian authorities undertaken any steps with a view of drawing up a law on the status of elected representatives affording mayors and councillors adequate guarantees in the discharge of their mandates?

- Have the Armenian authorities undertaken any steps with a view of drawing up a law on the civil service affording the staff of the communities adequate guarantees in the performance of their functions?

- Have the Armenian authorities undertaken any steps to intensify work on the amendments to the Electoral Code? Will they adopt a law establishing the rules for refugees' participation in local elections, particularly in communities where their numbers exceed 50% of the local population?

- Have the Armenian authorities undertaken any steps to review the three-year interval prescribed by the Constitution for local elections, and devise a system for general election of mayors and councillors on one date?

- Have the Armenian authorities undertaken any steps to review the financial rules of elections, specifically in order to reduce and thus render less prohibitive, the deposits payable by candidates.

- Has the working party chaired by Mr SADOYAN reached any tangible conclusions particularly regarding its aim to separate the decentralised State administration and the local authorities, whose respective powers still overlap too much?

- Have the Armenian authorities undertaken any steps with a view to renewing the status of Erevan and its mayors in order to allow better management of the conurbation, as well as greater solidarity and more even distribution of public funds within it?

AZERBAIJAN

- What is the time scale envisaged to propose amendments to the current legislation governing the powers of local authorities (keeping in mind the commitment to sign and ratify the European Charter on local Self-Government)?

- What are the legal/administrative decisions taken and the concrete measures implemented to correct the problems encountered in the local elections process? (notably concerning the weak public participation, the pressure of the ruling majority on the opposition and the obstacles created in the process of the registration of their candidates, the discrimination in the press and electronic mass media, the presence of unauthorised persons in the polling stations interfering with the work of the election officials and voters, the mismatches between signatures registered on the voting lists and votes found in the ballot box, the ballot stuffing, the attempts to « mobilise » voting by PECs chairmen, the unauthorised use of the mobile voting box, the poor management of unused ballot papers, the protection of local observers, the addition of extra voters on the official list during the day of the election, the ballot paper manipulations during the polling, the difficulties in the counting procedures, the family voting, the uncontrolled voting boxes)

- When and how were the constitutional and/or legal provisions amended with regard to local authorities responsibilities, their financial resources and their relationship with central authorities? What are the new rules on the above subjects?

* Could you please describe the main responsibilities of local authorities by specifying the difference between transferred functions (by law) and delegated tasks (by central authorities)?

* How have the responsibilities of presidential and governmental authorities (at central and peripheral level) have been clearly distinguished from local authorities responsibilities in the laws and in the relevant regulations?

* Which authorities are responsible for the control of local authorities activities? What are the main legal principles regulating the above control?

- Could you please describe the guarantees offered to local authorities to lodge
appeals against central authorities’ decisions violating local self-government rights?

- Did the Parliament already discuss or adopt a specific law on the status of Baku as a capital city and, if yes, what are the main provisions of this law? If not, what are the (political and/or legal) difficulties delaying the adoption of this important piece of legislation?

- Did the Parliament discuss or adopt a specific law on the status of local elected representatives and, if yes, what are the main provisions of this law? If not, what are the (political and legal) difficulties delaying the adoption of this important piece of legislation?

- What are the decisions taken concerning the transfer of land and real estate properties from the State authorities to local authorities? Has this transfer already taken place? If yes when and how? If not, what are the (political and legal) difficulties hampering this process?

- Could you please describe the taxes which can be levied directly by local authorities?

* Which are assets can be used by local authorities for their own right to taxation?

- Which are the main governmental programmes formulated to train local officials and local staff? How are they implemented? Which are the main problems encountered in this regard?



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