“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…

Hilary Clinton in the South Caucasus pushes for reforms and free elections

Hilary Clinton with the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan in Yerevan on 4 June 2012 (picture courtesy of the Press Service of the President of Armenia)

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has pushed for reforms and free elections during her whirlwind tour of the South Caucasus on 4-6 June 2012.

Using measured words aimed at not upsetting her government hosts Clinton flagged up important issues related to democratic reforms and free and fair elections. More…

European Union urges South Caucasus governments to implement changes ahead of elections.

On May 15, the European Union issued its annual package assessing its relations with its neighbouring countries in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy. The package was introduced to journalists by High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security, Catherine Ashton and by Enlargement and ENP Commissioner Stefan Fule.

In the documents, the EU sends a clear and unequivocal message to the three South Caucasus countries to make improvements on a number of issues related to elections and the broader aspects of democracy and human rights. Whilst recognising that some progress has been made, particularly in Armenia and Georgia the reports highlight serious shortcomings in all three countries. More…