National Flag Square, Crystal Hall. Baku. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the "Caucasian Knot"

21 September 2016, 15:44

Venice Commission speaks against amendments to Azerbaijani Constitution

The proposed changes to the Constitution will expressly authorise the Azerbaijani President with unprecedented powers, says the conclusion of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe (CoE). The Azerbaijani authorities should cancel the referendum, the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF) believes.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that the referendum is scheduled for September 26.

The constitutional changes proposed by the authorities of Azerbaijan "are at odds with the European constitutional heritage," the CoE's press service reports. In particular, the amendments "are seriously breaking the balance of branches of power."

Experts of the Commission stated that "given the already strong position of the president, nothing justifies the extension of the presidential mandate from five to seven years."

"Besides, the president acquires the power to dissolve the parliament, which negatively affects the political dissent and the independence of the judiciary," the conclusion emphasizes.

At the same time, experts spoke positively on complementing the Constitution with the provision, stating that "human dignity is protected and respected." A positive feedback was given to the amendment on "the right to protection against arbitrariness and on the right to be treated with dignity."

However, experts disagree with the restrictions on public assemblies for reasons of protecting the "public order" and "morality".

Ogtay Gyulyalyev, a member of the Coordinating Centre of the NCDF, believes that "after the conclusion of the Venice Commission, the most reasonable decision is to cancel the referendum."

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent

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