Baku Court of Appeal chaired by Judge Mirza Tagizade heard the appeal against the Central Election Commission’s (CEC) decision not to register Musavat Party’s “Republic” initiative group. CEC denied registration to the “Republic” initiative group by its decision dated 27 August 2016, allegedly because 3,600 of the 41,128 voter signatures presented by the party were invalid.
Speaking about the hearing Musavat Party Central Executive Board chief Gulaga Aslanli said: “Musavat Party indicated in its appeal that, according to the Election Code, the protocol of the working group checking the accuracy of signatures should be presented 24 hours before the issue of the initiative group is put on the agenda. The protocol should provide the list of invalid signatures and reasons why they are deemed invalid. This protocol has not been presented. At the hearing, we suggested that the signatures be checked. In relation to many signatures it is stated that the dates of issuance of the voters’ identity cards were indicated inaccurately. We asked the court to give us time to provide copies of those voters’ identity cards. However, without providing any counter-argument the court ruled that the appeal be rejected.”
Musavat Party is intending to file a cassation appeal with the Supreme Court against the Appeal Court’s decision.
Background: Central Election Commission has registered only “New Azerbaijan”, “Municipality” and “Civil Society” campaign groups. Amid recent arrests and pressures, REAL Movement opted out of participation in the September 26 referendum. Musavat Party’s “Republic” initiative group has not been registered due to some of their collected signatures being deemed invalid. Azerbaijan Popular Front Party has boycotted the referendum. The referendum on amendments to the Constitution in Azerbaijan will be held on September 26. The Draft Referendum Act stipulates establishment of the posts of first vice-president and vice-presidents of Azerbaijan. It also extends the term of office of the president from 5 years to 7 years. Minimum age requirements for the president and parliamentarians are removed. Besides, the president is granted the power to dissolve the parliament.