President of the European Council in high profile visit to the South Caucasus. Elections feature prominently in the discussions.

Herman Van Rumpoy

Elections featured prominently in the discussions held by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, in the course of his high profile visit to the region during which he met the President of the three South Caucasus countries, as well as civil society and political party representatives. Recognising the progress made by Armenia in the conduct of its recent Parliamentary elections, van Rompuy addressed a special session of the Armenian Parliament.

CEW Victoria Arnold sums up the visit of the President of the European Council to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. More…

OSCE pushes for more women participation in politics in the South Caucasus

A meeting hosted by the OSCE in Yerevan analysed the role of women in the 6 May Parliamentary elections.

As part of its mandate to support and promote pluralism and equal democratic representation, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) recently organised events to address the issue of women’s political participation in Baku and Yerevan.

On June 21 and 22, the OSCE office in Baku with support from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) brought together over 30 senior political party officials to discuss how to increase participation amongst women in political parties. More…

Azerbaijani opposition considers election code. “If no amendments are made to the Code, there are calls to boycott the 2013 elections.” 1

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. More…

“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…

“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…

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…