Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Legal opinion on constitutional changes concerning presidential elections in Azerbaijan by Prof. Sadurski


In his opinion Prof. Sadurski summarizes 2009 constitutional amendments in Azerbaijan removing presidential limits. He analyses transparency of constitutional changes and their compliance with modern standards of democracy and constitutionalism. He claims that the process of constitutional changes violated the principle of openness and transparency, because the respective change was opaque and hidden between more than 20 other provisions.

Moreover, right to democratic government is essential to the fulfilment of international obligations on human rights. Therefore, any European country which is party to the European Convention on Human Rights, breaches the Convention by lifting any term limits for being elected as president. Third, he claims that 2009 constitutional amendment which lifted presidential term limits violated principles of legal certainty and retrospectively.

„I hope that this opinion will be subject of consideration by international opinion-makers, institutions, as well as ordinary citizens of Azerbaijan before upcoming presidential elections“ – commented Rasul Jafarov of the Human Rights Club of Azerbaijan. „It just confirms the thinking of many people that the Constitution should not be changed in a way allowing Ilham Aliyev to become the President for the lifetime.“

„The European Parliament recently decided not to observe presidential elections in Azerbaijan. I hope that this opinion will convince some European and national decision-makers to have a careful view on political future of this country – member-state of the Council of Europe“ – said Adam Bodnar from the Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

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