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Central Election Commission conducted a seminar-conference for chairmen of Constituency Election Commissions on February 15, 2018


Central Election Commission (CEC) conducted a seminar-conference for chairmen of Constituency Election Commissions on February 15, 2018.

Opening the seminar-conference, CEC Chairman Mazahir Panahov noted that the Decree of the head of state Ilham Aliyev on the appointment of the Presidential elections to be held on April 11
entails the Central Election Commission with the preparation and conduct of elections. According to the Election Code, CEC began its activities as the body responsible for the preparation and conduct of elections. "We have already approved the Calendar Plan. Pursuant to this plan we started our activities. According to the Calendar Plan, the seminar-conference was organized regarding the implementation of the section on election commissions of "National Activity Program for the increase of efficiency of protecting human rights and freedoms in the Republic of Azerbaijan”, approved by the Order of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, dated December 27, 2011 This is intended for training the lower election commissions.” – Mazahir Panahov emphasized.

CEC chairman said that the lower election commissions are involved in the electoral process
. According to the Election Code, The Central Election Commission and lower election commissions cooperate with various state institutions to ensure the right of citizens to vote, to manage the activities of election subjects pursuant to the Law, and to conduct activities in a legitimate manner. Therefore, the outcome of the discussions here should be the basis for further steps to be taken.

Mazahir Panahov noted that stability existing in Azerbaijan creates fruitful conditions for transparent and democratic elections. According to the Election Code, the appropriate conditions have been created to ensure the activity of all election commissions. It is the duty of the executive authorities to create conditions for the Election Code. The results of the elections held up to now show that all conditions for the activity of Constituency Election Commissions have been created in our country.

"Elections indicate each country has democratic principles. We should try to evaluate the elections in Azerbaijan both in the country and in the international arena” – emphasized CEC Chairman.

Zeynal Naghdaliyev, Assistant to the President for Territorial and Organizational Issues made report at the seminar-conference on "Duties of local executive authorities and their bilateral activity with election commissions in the processes of preparation and conduct of Presidential elections of the Republic of Azerbaijan”.

Talking about the importance of these awareness-raising events, the Assistant to the President said that the seminar-conference is important from the point of view of discussing the tasks that we have for holding the upcoming elections at the highest level. Traditionally, these consultations have enabled us to have a higher level of quality, with each passing year being a presidential, parliamentary, municipal, and referendum. Azerbaijan's election experience and achievements are highly appreciated by international observers not only in our society, but also everywhere in our country. Certainly, in these achievements, the work of those responsible persons for holding elections in the field is very large. The Assistant to the President emphasized that President Ilham Aliyev’s political will has always played a key role in holding transparent and democratic elections in Azerbaijan. The head of state has set serious tasks for central and local executive authorities to ensure holding transparent elections. Zeynal Naghdaliyev said that stability in our country, as well as the safe environment, are the factors that make elections democratic, and today Azerbaijan is on its way to development and there is civil solidarity in our country. For these parameters, Azerbaijan is one of the most exemplary countries in the world. Of course, democratic principles in Azerbaijan, stability and achievements are observed as a result of voters' activity in elections. Achievements, gained by our country, further enhance our responsibility. Primary goal is conducting presidential elections in line with the highest standards. The experience we have gained during the previous elections so far will allow us to hold the upcoming elections at the highest level.

The Assistant to the President noted that creation of necessary conditions for the activity of Con.Ec. is a duty of executive power authorities. All the necessary conditions have been created for observing the voters in tranquil, free, transparent atmosphere and observation at polling stations. Nevertheless, the Central Election Commission conducts joint monitoring. If any issue arises, it must also be resolved in a definite way. Indoor and outdoor places are always appointed for holding pre-election mass events and meetings. These places are determined before the pre-election and propaganda campaign starts and everyone is provided with equal conditions. Until the campaign is launched, these places will be broadcasted through mass media. Zeynal Naghdaliyev said that strict compliances with legislation should be provided in the voting process. Elections should be based on free, fluent, transparent, democratic principles. Noting that one of the most important issues for holding transparent elections was the preparation of honest voter lists, the Assistant to the President said that this work was always at a high level. "The experience we have gained during the previous elections so far will allow us to hold the upcoming elections at the highest level. The duty of each of us is to maintain and enhance the obtained achievements. – said Naghdaliyev.

Chairman of the Constitutional Court Farhad Abdullayev made speech on issue "The constitutional principles of the electoral right: the mechanisms for the implementation of electoral rights in the Presidential Elections of the Republic of Azerbaijan" and noted that traditionally organizing such workshops contributes to the conduct of transparent and democratic elections. Noting that the election process was a sensitive issue, the Chairman of the Constitutional Court said that innovations are always used in this process. Certainly, it is aimed at ensuring transparency, justice and protection of legislation.

"Today, different political and economic processes take place in the world and all societies are not stable, and these processes, of course, affect the elections, there is stability in Azerbaijan, our society is developing steadily, and therefore the election process is transparent and democratic." – said Farhad Abdullayev.

The Chairman of the Constitutional Court said that a lot of work has been done by the Central Election Commission so far to conduct elections in Azerbaijan based on transparent and democratic principles. In each state, the elections have a serious impact on the image of the state. In this respect, our state and our public always pay great importance to the elections.

Farhad Abdullayev noted that the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Election Code and a number of other normative legal acts, as well as the guidelines and decisions adopted by the Central Election Commission, were aimed at ensuring transparency of the electoral process with the Law. According to him, the election process and other progressive steps are justified by the use of modern technologies.

"There is a serious work to be done to ensure the constitutional rights of voters at the Con.EC., and there are problems with the voters' enjoyment of their rights in the world today. For example, in several decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, restrictions on active suffrage, in particular the restriction of the rights of prisoners. There are also restrictions on some European countries, but there is no such limit in Azerbaijan and, of course, this is a very progressive step. "All electorate of the population, including those deprived of their liberty, will also participate in the elections." – emphasized Farhad Abdullayev.

Later, Elmira Suleymanova, Commissioner on Human Rights reported on "Election right as one of human and civil rights”. The Commissioner informed that the voting right to was guaranteed to women in Azerbaijan for the first time in the East, thereby stating that one of the foundation principles of the election process was to ensure the election right. The "National Activity Program to increase the efficiency of protection of human rights and freedoms in the Republic of Azerbaijan”, signed by head of the state Ilham Aliyev on December 27, 2011 indicates especially, the awareness-raising of the election commissions.

E.Suleymanova underlined the improvement of the Election Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan by every year and informed that the steps and decisions adopted ensure the protection of human election rights. Every person in the country is fully facilitated to participate in the voting independently and transparently. "Before the voting of voters in the area of registration caused some problems. After the relevant decision of the Cabinet of Ministers voters are not required to vote in the area of registration, every voter may vote in spite of the place upon submitting ID card, which provides free participation of voters in elections”, - the Commissioner stated.

E.Suleymanova informed that the voters with disabilities in Azerbaijan were provided with an opportunity to participate in elections and mobile ramps were installed in polling stations.

The Ombudsman also stated that Expert Groups were established in the Central Election Commissions and Constituency Election Commissions and all the works were being undertaken to ensure the election right of everybody.

The Commissioner informed that the Central Election Commission and Constituency Election Commissions in places had functioned in mutual coordination in all elections held since the day of the formation of Ombudsman organization in Azerbaijan. She also stated that all necessary measures were taken at the CEC Information Centre on the voting day. Meanwhile, the officials of the Ombudsman observe the election proceedings in places and the collected information is delivered to the country public from the CEC Information Centre.

Azer Jafarov, Deputy Minister of Justice reported on the subject "Roles and duties of the juridical bodies and courts in the Presidential Elections of the Republic of Azerbaijan” and informed that though the elections were held by the election commissions in Azerbaijan, the legislation imposed duties also for many other bodies in this field. Informing on certain activity field of juridical bodies in the organization and conduct of elections, Deputy Minister stated: ”We speak about the legal coordination of the election process, the verification of documents, the compilation of voters’ lists, the conduct of different examinations, as well as the organization of elections jointly with election commissions in penitentiary institutions – prisons and detention isolations”.

A.Jafarov informed that one of the basic duties undertaken by juridical bodies to ensure citizens’ suffrage was the organization of elections in penitentiary service. CEC and Con.ECs have been closely cooperated with for more than 20 years to ensure the participation of the prisoners in elections. Therewith, the officials who are on service on the voting day and military personnel also vote in penitentiary institutions. There is adequate experience to ensure the participation of the prisoners and detainees in elections and all the mechanisms exist to implement the process fairly and properly. An election commissions is established with the help of CEC and Con.ECs in penitentiary institutions and relevant educational works are undertaken. The prisoners are facilitated to follow the election-related speeches on TV. Media representatives and international observers are facilitated to conduct observation in those precincts. The members of election commissions function independently in the areas of penitentiary institutions on the voting day.

It was also emphasized that one of the duties of juridical bodies was the examination of documents. Working Groups of election commissions are formed to check the accuracy of the signatures in signature sheets and the Ministry of Justice is also represented in those groups.

Rustam Usubov, first Deputy Prosecutor General reported on "Roles and duties of the prosecutor offices in the protection of the election right”. He informed that the foundations of legal state had been promoted, democracy principles were being carried on, effective atmosphere was formed and necessary steps were taken to hold democratic elections and referendum to guarantee free and independent execution of the people’s will in Azerbaijan. Today we are on the eve of Presidential elections which is an important event in the public and political life of the country. The tranquility and election legislation based on democratic principles in Azerbaijan prevail us of the opportunity to state with certainty that the Presidential elections will be held transparently and democratically on April 11, 2018.

R.Usubov spoke about the duties of prosecutor’s offices in the conduct of elections and stated:” These duties are first of all, connected with the guarantee of citizens’ rights to participate in elections by the prosecutor and condemn of the persons to liability who have violated the rights to participate in elections and requirements of the election legislation. In this regard, Prosecutor General of the Republic is determined to fulfill the duties enshrined in law by cooperating with CEC and other election commissions. The duties of the prosecutor’s offices concerning elections and referendum are connected with the investigation of the filed appeals and complaints”.

All necessary activities were undertaken to ensure effective and well-timed relationship with relevant Expert Groups for the prosecutor’s offices to fulfill their duties implied by law regarding the liability of the persons who had violated the requirements of the election legislation in the Presidential elections. Thus, Working Group for elections was also established in the Office of Prosecutor’s General and the Group carries responsibility for the examination of appeals and complaints.

Oruj Zalov, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs reported on "Roles and activity fields of the structures of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Presidential elections of the Republic of Azerbaijan”. Deputy Minister informed that the Ministry of Internal Affairs started to undertake some activities regarding the Presidential elections to be held on April 11, 2018. Every structural institution has got a relevant duty and the particular decrees and orders were signed in previous years to guarantee human rights and freedoms more efficiently. The Election Code, Code of Administrative Offences, Criminal Code and Procedural Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Law on Free Assembly and other legal norms and acts were made amendments and changes. Full and decent fulfillment of the duties undertaken by the bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is of great importance to conduct the elections of 11 April under peaceful atmosphere.

Deputy Minister stated:” Today Azerbaijan is one of the most tranquil and secure countries in the world. It is worth of noting that the unity of people with the government is one of the basic principles of tranquility in the country. Tranquility is the result of the people’s confidence in the ruling authority”.

O.Zalov informed that the Ministry had compiled a relevant plan of activities to conduct the Presidential elections in legal and secure atmosphere and to ensure the public order which was a major condition for the citizens to express their will independently on the voting day. All the bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs got ready for the secure and decent fulfillment of the imposed duties.

The public order will be ensured in the areas where the meetings and assemblies are held during the campaign period. Meanwhile, the illegal political actions not agreed upon with will be prevented strictly on and after the voting day during the campaign period. If such cases are revealed, relevant measures will be undertaken as in comply with the legislation. "The polling stations will be fully protected after the ballot papers are brought to these polling stations”, - the Deputy Minister emphasized.

Later, Rovzat Gasimov, Head of the CEC Secretariat made report on "Main duties of Con.ECs and PECs after the voting process ends”, Farid Orujov, Head of the CEC Information Centre reported on "New functions of the State Automated Information System and the rules for using them”, Elshan Asgarov, Head of General Ddepartment of the CEC Secretariat reported on "Organization of office works at Con.ECs and PECs”.

The seminar-conference will be continued for Con.EC secretaries and members and PEC chairmen in regions on February 19-21, 2018.