TODAY.AZ / Politics

Sergey Kuznetsov: "CE democratic standards are single for all member-states, therefore, it is unfair to speak of specifics of democracy in any country"

07 August 2008 [09:43] - TODAY.AZ
Day.Az interview with Sergey Kuznetsov, expert of the department of elections and referendums of the CE Venice Commission.
- Is it true that not everything that is good for Western European countries is acceptable for Azerbaijan and other countries with a specific democratic development?

- The Council of Europe has standards, universal for all the member-states. The countries knew it, while joining the Council of Europe. Therefore, I think it is unfair to say that standards differ for different countries. These standards are single for everyone. There is a package of documents, related to this issue. I think, standards, reflected there, are admissible for everyone.

- Can the talks between Azerbaijan and the Venice Commission in a period before elections be considered complete or introduction of any additional amendments to the electoral code is possible?

- I am not sure. At least, no talks are held at the moment.

- Azerbaijani opposition considers the final judgment of the Venice commission about amendments, introduced to the national legislature, to be too soft, being confident that these amendments were late and most of them were just of cosmetic nature. What do you think about it?

- In the principle, our ideas and position on this issue are fixed in the conclusion of the commission regarding amendments, introduced to the Electoral Code. I would like to remind that in this conclusion, several experts said some things could have been improved. Anyway, it is not good that such important amendments are introduced to the legislation in such a short period left before the elections, as voters should have been informed about the state of affairs from the beginning. It is fixed in the code of documents of the Venice Commission, which, by the way, has been translated into Azerbaijani.

- The law on freedom of assembly has also been subjected to changes, in line with some recommendations of the Venice Commission. Don't you think the work is in vain, as a greater part of the Azerbaijani opposition decided to boycott the elections?

- It is opposition's decision, while the Venice Commission is a body of jural cooperation. We just gave our judgment on laws, while the political assessment is not our competence. We can only recommend on laws.

- Are recommendations obligatory for execution and can there be any problems because of their incomplete application?

- Application does not depend on us. We just recommend. The rest is a business of those bodies, which deal with monitoring.

- But, probably, even incomplete application of the Venice Commission recommendations is not the reason to speak of the undemocratic elections...

- Certainly, elections can by held on the highest level even with shortages in the laws. Bad elections can also be held under good laws. This is a position of the Venice Commission, including the commission secretary Gianni Bukikkio, who visited Baku in June of this year.

- Which other Azerbaijani laws does the Venice Commission plan to assess before elections?

- Everything will depend on the requests that we will receive. It also depends on the Azerbaijani side and on those, who may appeal to the commission in line with its charter. These are the founding bodies of the Council of Europe. We have not yet received any other requests.


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