Daily Times: 40 parties in the run for 125 Azerbaijan National Assembly seats

05 november 2010, 11:38

Daily Times

Friday, November 05, 2010

BAKU: The new emerging democracy of Caucasus, Azerbaijan is set to hold its fourth parliamentary elections since its independence in 1991 where more than 40 political parties would contest for 125 seats of the National Assembly (Milli Meclis) for a five-year term.

On the eve of fourth parliamentary elections to be held on November 7, 2010, Central Election Commission (CEC) of Azerbaijan prepared “Election Day Guide” for the members of precinct election commissions (PEC) and delivered it to lower election commissions. The CEC chairman said that the decree of Azerbaijani president required the authorities to ensure free, fair and transparent conduct of elections.

Over the period prior to the election, all registered candidates were provided with free airtime and public debates on TV. It was stated that legal steps had been taken for making the election precincts within the country ready for the voting. And the persons who had applied for observation to the organisation were replied positively in the aim of ensuring transparency. Upon basing on the practice of the last elections, one may say that the forthcoming elections will be followed by thousands of observers. All facilities will also be provided for the mass media representatives to obtain information from election precincts.

The Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan also underlined that though it was difficult to ensure active election rights of Azerbaijani citizens who had been displaced from their native lands at the result of Armenian occupation, the commission provided all necessary facilities for the voting of them.

In order to guarantee transparency of election system, the Central Election Commission has provided web-cameras. It was declared that during the election day, all voters would be marked with finger-paint. It is said that thousands of observers would come to see election conditions on November 7. Many experts hope that these elections will reflect the development of democracy and human rights in Azerbaijan.

In 1991, the Republic of Azerbaijan regained its independence after collapse of the USSR. Turning a new page of its history, Azerbaijan made continuous efforts for the establishment of a democratic, legal and secular state based on national and humanitarian principles. Since the first days of independence, the process of a democratic and legal state development in Azerbaijan faced various problems and obstacles. The republic faced a need to tackle problems resulted from ill consequences of the economic and political issues inherited from the Soviet totalitarian regime, Armenian separatism and military actions against Azerbaijan, sharp internal political confrontations and the danger of civil war, attempts of coup d’etat along with other severe political, social and economic problems and their implications.

Consistent efforts made by late president and national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev created opportunities to halt the activities of the malevolent forces posing a threat to the Azerbaijan territorial integrity and state independence. Azerbaijan was saved from bloody civil confrontations and the danger of a complete collapse in 1993-95. As a result, Azerbaijan was able to establish its governmental institutions and lay the foundation for the ideology based on such universal humanitarian values as independence, state formation, patriotism, preeminence of law, justice, democracy, national progress reflected in new constitution which was adopted in 1995.

By the decree of the President Heydar Aliyev, all kind of censorship over mass media was abolished in 1998.

Currently, 42 registered political parties are active in the Azerbaijan Republic and can utilise the media.

Role of mass media:The history of modern type of Azerbaijani media started in 1875. Fundamental conditions have been created for free development of mass media. And the artificial obstacles preventing mass media and freedom of expression have already been removed. Now, the development process of mass media meeting modern standards continues in Azerbaijan.

In July 2010, on the occasion of the 135th anniversary of the Azerbaijani national press, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed special decree for promoting progress and support from government to facilitate working conditions of media and journalists.

Azerbaijan Republic possesses one of the leading places among post-Soviet and eastern European countries for quality and quantity of mass media. At present 1,830 mass media agencies have been registered in Azerbaijan and 1,750 of these are newspapers, 80 are TV and radio agencies. 15 TV channels broadcast in Azerbaijan and only one of them, AzTV, belongs to the government.

At least 15 percent of newspapers and magazines were founded by the governmental structures. More than 65 percent of newspapers affiliated to different political and public organisations, private structures. The newspapers controlled by opposition parties like “Yeni Musavat”, “Baki Xeber”, “Bizim Yol” and others often make sharp criticism of the government and officials.

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