Leo Platvoet

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Credentials Delegation Azerbaijan

 plenary session 25 January 2006

report 10807

The elections in Azerbaijan of november 2005 were not free and fair. The rapporteur, who was also an observer of our mission, give in his report the right information about these elections. Of course, no one expects or demands that Azerbaijan will develop a  real democracy within a short periode of 10 years. But what can be asked is, to make real progress. And if you look at the way these elections were held, itís a pity that this was not the case. Sure there were some improvements, but the bad things dominated.

This is all written down in my report on these elections, which was adopted on behalf of the Assembly by the Standing Committee. And also Mr Lloyd reports on this.

The important issues of this debate are: does this Assembly takes itís own principles and decesions serioulsy and what is the best tool we can use to improve the functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan. And this debate is of course not at a starting point.

Half a year ago this Assembly adopted a resolution in which it said to hope that the forthcoming parliamentary elections will be held in a democratic and transparant manner, so as to cast no doubt over the credentials of the new delegation.

In my report the Assembly adopted the conclusion that these elections were not held in a democratic and transparant matter and didínt meet the standards and commitments of the CoE.

So itís logic to cast a doubt on the credentials. Not to punish the Azeri-delegation. Not to give a blow to their pride. But to make clear to the people of Azerbaijan that the CoE takes itís own principles seriously in order to serve democracy, human rights and rule of law. And to make it clear to the authorities and ruling politicans in Azerbaijan that itís absolute necessary to make changes and improvements.

In both reports there are proposals for this. I think we have a better position to achieve these changes and improvements when we are clear and consequent. And that means: accept the credentials, but  set the voting right aside untill June, after the re-run of elections in just 10 constituencies.

Thatís not making a new standard. Itís one of the few tools, and not the sharpest one, this Assembly has within the rules and statute of the CoE.