Some of the provisions in the new project were met with dissatisfaction
A political party that does not participate in the Milli Majlis, presidential or municipal elections twice in a row will be abolished. Plus, the number of members required to establish a political party is also increased from 1,000 to 10,000.
These provisions are reflected in the new draft law “On Political Parties” to be discussed in the Milli Majlis, the Azerbaijani parliament.
Ten party chairmen appealed to the chairman of the Milli Majlis for the preparation of a new draft law “On political parties”. The party leaders emphasized the importance of preparing a law that meets ‘modern development realities and requirements’.
“Sahiba Gafarova asked for our suggestions”
The Chairman of the opposition party Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA) Panah Huseyn, said in an interview to Meydan TV that he addressed his suggestions to the Chairman of the Milli Majlis, Sahiba Gafarova, and that she asked for his opinion:
“We also sent our proposals conceptually. Our main position was that it is not right to adopt a new law until there is a corresponding change in the Constitution. In other words, the proportional election system must be restored first. If there will be a new law, it should be brought up for public discussion before discussion in the National Parliament. There are no provisions mentioned in our proposal package”, he argues.
“In general, we believe that the constitutional status of the parties should be raised, and for this the provision (s) about political parties should be established in the Constitution in the form of independent, separate articles”, added Huseyn.
“Restore the proportional election system”
Zaur Mahiroglu, deputy of the Civic and Development Party, which has its chairman Ali Aliyev imprisoned, told Meydan TV that they submitted a proposal package to the Milli Majlis regarding political parties and elections procedures a long time ago. Mahiroglu said that he was not aware of the presented new draft:
“First of all, we want parties to be provided with electoral headquarters during the elections. Secondly, the proportional election system should be restored. Also, political parties represented in the Milli Majlis should have the right to create an ‘Opposition faction’. Fourth, the condition that the party must have at least 1,000 members to be registered should be maintained”.
The deputy also defends that parties should be guaranteed to appear in mass media and television channels financed from the state budget.
“Participation in elections is a right, not a duty”
The head of the Musavat Party, Arif Hajılı, told Meydan TV that the provision on the party’s participation in the elections reflected in the new project is completely anti-democratic. He believes that this provision is directed against the parties:
“The pre-election situation in Azerbaijan is anti-democratic, there is no suitable election legislation for holding democratic elections. Finally, the fact that the election administration is fully under the control of the authorities and other factors do not allow many parties to participate in the elections. The point is that participation in elections is a right, not a duty”, Hajili argues.
The project will be discussed at the end of September
Ali Huseynli, chairman of the Legal Policy and State Building Committee of the Milli Majlis, told ” Qafqazinfo ” that the new project is open for discussion. According to him, it is planned to hold the first public hearing of the law at the end of September:
“In this process, it will be possible to learn the opinions of political parties, relevant state institutions and civil societies once again. Of course, such a transparent approach will be an important contribution to the further improvement of the draft law”.
The chairman of the committee answered the question about the necessity of the new project. In his words, “during the past period, up to 70 additions and changes were made to the law “On Political Parties” at various times. But in the context of the reconstruction declared by Mr. Ilham Aliyev after the extraordinary presidential elections of 2018, political and democratic reforms, including the formation of a new political configuration, took a special place. Especially, in the course of the 2020 War, as a result of these reforms, political relations characteristic of modern, independent state building were formed”.
He also added that the new law would provide incentive for political pluralism and debate. However, the presented text provides more barriers to party participation.