Voting station in Azerbaijan. Photo:

26 September 2016, 09:55

Referendum on amendments to Azerbaijani Constitution started amid calls for boycott

This morning, in Azerbaijan, 5267 polling stations were opened in 125 districts. Residents of the country are to express their attitude to the amendments to the Constitution.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that the constitutional amendments were initiated by President Ilham Aliev. Apart from other points, the amendments suggest increasing the term of office of the President from five up to seven years and entitling him to dissolve parliament and declare a special presidential election. The amendments lift the minimum age requirement for a candidate for the presidency.

The draft of the Act on referendum on amendments to the Constitution, consisting of 29 points, is presented to the all-nation voting.

The preliminary results of the referendum, received from the polling stations to the information system of the Central Election Commission (CEC), will be announced by late evening of September 26. The CEC is expected to announce the official results of the referendum before October 21.

The referendum will be considered valid if attended by more than 25 percent of the total number of voters. The points of the Act on referendum will be adopted if supported by half of the voters who took part in the voting.

The authorities justified the constitutional amendments by changes in the political and economic life of the country. The opposition still treats the amendments as reactionary.

So, according to Ali Kerimli, a member of the Coordinating Centre of the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF), the leader of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA), the amendments are aimed at "securing the eternity of Ilham Aliev's ruling."

Ali Kerimli has noted that because of "the reactionary nature of the amendments" and the lack of conditions for pluralistic debates, the opposition has called on to boycott 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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