“Almost all our positions coincide with those of the Venice Commission.” 1

Razi Nurullayev

The Azerbaijani pro opposition forum “Public Chamber” will this week hold a round table discussion on the electoral code of Azerbaijan. Ahead of the meeting CEWs Karina Gould interviewed Razi Nurullayev, the Deputy-chairperson for Foreign Affairs of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan and Chairman of the Board of Directors at “REGION” International Analytical Centre (RIAC).

CEW: What is the motivation behind the organization of the round table discussions this upcoming week?

RN: The round table discussions will take place on 21 June, 2012 in Baku and are being organized by the pro-democracy opposition group, the Public Chamber of Azerbaijan (PC). The PC emerged in the aftermath of the October 2010 Parliamentary Elections in Azerbaijan, which left all of the major opposition parties outside of the legislative body without a single seat due to electoral fraud. The PC is taking on this initiative because it is able to bring together most of the political parties, civil society, experts, academics and individual activists in Azerbaijan. More…

More changes to Georgian election code. US Ambassador says time to move from process to substance.

The Georgian Parliament in session

On June 12, the Georgian parliament passed the first reading of the draft amendments to the national election code.

Amendments include modifying the eligibility criteria for voter and political participation, decreasing the legal age requirement for running for office, extending the mandate of the Voters’ List Verification Commission (VLVC), as well as establishing criteria for international electoral observers monitoring Georgian elections.  

The amendments are designed to bring the Election Code in line with the May 2012 constitutional amendments which came into force at the beginning of June. More…

“Next month’s Karabakh elections will be the best elections held in the South Caucasus.”

The Chairman of Parliament of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was in the United Kingdom last week as a guest of the British Armenian Parliamentary Group. Ashot Ghoulian also visited Oxford University where he met a group of students and academics to discuss the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. Speaking at Manchester-Harris College at the invitation of the Oxford Armenia Society Ghoulian answered questions regarding the forthcoming Presidential elections in Nagorno-Karabakh due on 19 July. More…

Pressure grows on Georgian government to create a level playing field in the Georgian media ahead of October’s elections.

Georgian NGOs that form part of the campaign “This concerns you!” have sent an open letter to the Georgian Parliament urging the legislative body to take the interests of the public and the voters into account and introduce “must-carry” and “must-offer” rules in the legislation regulating media activities.

“Do not allow any kind of restriction of access to any media outlet; Take into account opinions and recommendations provided by international organizations on the necessity of pluralistic media in the country,” reads the letter.The letter also discusses the restriction of access to Channel 9 and the decision to switch off radio signal in mini buses, moves seen as aimed at restricting citizen’s access to information. “Even if there is some legal basis for the decisions, the end result has become a matter of concern for numerous non-governmental and media organizations and citizens,” says the letter. More…

Fears that Elections in Nagorno-Karabakh may inflame tensions on Armenia-Azerbaijan line of contact.

The campaign in the Presidential election in the self-declared Nagorno- Karabakh Republic is taking place amidst the backdrop of heightened tension of the line of contact separating Armenian and Azerbaijani forces. Last week there were reports on casualties on both sides in the most serious incidents reported this year. Karabakh and surrounding areas were reported tense, and the President of the self-declared republic extended the period of conscription of current military recruits by one month.

Azerbaijan has condemned the elections, scheduled for 19 July 2012 as a provocation. International organisations and western countries are expected to declare that they will not recognise the results because of the current status of the territory and since the Azerbaijani population of the territory which was displaced by the conflict cannot vote. More…

Prosecutors and footballers, journalists and actors: a colourful mix of candidates start lining up for Georgia’s parliamentary elections.

Political parties in Georgia have started preparing candidates for next October’s parliamentary elections.

Davit Sakvarelidze, has resigned from his post as First Deputy Prosecutor General of Georgia to contest a parliamentary seat in the capital Tbilisi

The First Deputy Prosecutor General of Georgia, Davit Sakvarelidze, announced on June 11 that he was resigning in order to enter politics. Georgian media have speculated over the last days that Sakvarelidze will become the majoritarian candidate for the ruling United National movement (UNM) in the Krtsanisi District of the Capital Tbilisi.

A UNM official told the Georgian news portal Civil.ge on that Sakvarelidze’s possible candidacy in Krtsanisi single-mandate constituency was under consideration, but no final decision was yet made.

In the meantime, at a Rally held in Kutaisi, the leader of the Georgian Dream Coalition, Bidhzina Ivanishvili has named six out of the twelve majoritarian candidates for the Imereti region of Georgia.

Gubaz Sanikidze, one of the leaders of National Forum – one of the parties within the Georgian Dream coalition will run in Kutaisi, which is Georgia’s second largest city and one of the largest single-mandate constituencies.

Kakha Kaladze, a retired footballer, who was a captain of the Georgian national team and who won the Champions League on two occasions with AC Milan, will run in his native town of Samtredia. He is pictured hear wearing the distinctive red and black Milan colours during match with Fiorentina

Kakha Kaladze, a retired footballer, who was a captain of the Georgian national team and who won the Champions League on two occasions with AC Milan, will run in his native town of Samtredia. More…