REAL Movement Ceases Collecting Signatures for Referendum

August 22nd, 2016

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Republican Alternative (REAL) Movement has stopped collecting signatures for the registration of its “Republican Alternative” campaign group founded to conduct referendum campaign, REAL Movement said at a press conference.

According to REAL Board member Azer Gasimli, this decision should not be considered as boycott. “We have ceased the signature collecting campaign. Natig Jafarli and Togrul Ismayilov, who have been arrested, were REAL’s authorised representatives at the Central Election Commission. At the same time, Initiative Group member Elshan Gasimli has also been arrested. Moreover, the 100,000 flyers, which we had printed to use for public awareness raising, have been illegally confiscated. Last but not least, pro-government media conducts campaign against REAL. In such a political atmosphere, there is no point in conducting an election campaign, because with the recent arrests and confiscation of flyers the authorities showed that they want to hold the September 26th referendum quietly and without debates. They would not even agree to semi-debates. The latest court hearings are a serious violation of freedom of expression,” Azer Gasimli said.

Azer Gasimli noted that REAL as an organisation would not participate in the public rallies organised by the National Council. “Anyone from REAL may individually attend the rallies if they want to. And, if the National Council wants to discuss the rallies with us, we are ready to discussions,” Gasimli added.

Background: The referendum on amendments to the Constitution of Azerbaijan will take place on 26 September 2016.