YAP positioning itself ahead of next year’s presidential poll in Azerbaijan.

YAP Deputy Executive Secretary, Siyavoush Novruzov MP

With the Presidential elections set for October 2013, the ruling party of Azerbaijan, the New Azerbaijan Party (YAP) is feeling out its competition.

Aydin Mirzazade, a Member of Parliament for YAP, told Gun.Az that the YAP considers “every candidate to be a rival” for next year’s elections. The YAP MP assured the press that the ruling party will take steps to ensure all candidates can participate and campaign in the election. Commenting on incumbent President, and YAP’s unofficially confirmed presidential candidate, Ilham Aliyev’s democratic record, Mirzazade noted that with Aliyev’s candidacy, Azerbaijan will continue on a democratic path of economic growth and stability for the next five years. In conclusion he said that YAP does not consider itself weaker or comparable to any other party.

Ramping up the rhetoric, Deputy Executive Secretary for the YAP, MP Syavush Novruzov, declared that the ruling party considers the “unification of [the Azerbaijani] opposition in one team as impossible.” More…

Who’s going? Who’s staying? Who’s coming?

Although attention is currently focused on the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia on 1 October, discussions in international circles are increasingly focussed on the three Presidential elections in the South Caucasus, scheduled to be held in 2013. Armenia will elect its President in February and Azerbaijani in October. The Georgian Presidential election is also due next year.

The three countries, different as they are, have one thing in common in their modern political history. No President has ever left office because he was defeated in an election. They were either forced out or died in office. In Armenia in 2008 the incumbent, Robert Kocharian left office at the end of his two terms. The constitution in Armenia and Georgia allows a person to hold office for only two terms. It was the same in Azerbaijan, but the constitution was changed after the last election, thus enabling the current President Ilham Aliev to run for a third term. As things stand therefore there should be at least one change of president next year, in Georgia, since the current President has already had two terms in office. More…

Opposition in Azerbaijan still unsure if it will contest presidential elections in 2013.

With recent announcements by the ruling party in Azerbaijan that incumbent President and party chairman, Ilham Aliyev will be nominated for a third term as the party’s presidential candidate, the opposition in the country has decided to ramp up its public activities this autumn.

The Public Chamber (PC), a coalition of prominent opposition parties who found themselves without a single seat following the 2010 parliamentary elections, declared on 22 July that it would launch a new wave of protests in the coming months to demand the government establish the necessary conditions for free and fair presidential elections in 2013. PC activities will be centred on four main goals: the release of political prisoners by Azerbaijani authorities, a guarantee of freedom of assembly, respect for freedom of speech and the media, as well as the implementation of pressing amendments to the Electoral Code. More…

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…