Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center assessed the draft law on ‘Political Parties’ put forward by the Parliament of Azerbaijan and identified a significant number of restrictive clauses in the document in the light of relevant opinion and recommendations put forward by the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE ODIHR) on laws regulating political parties.
EMDS states the necessity of improving the existing law ‘on Political Parties’ on the basis of standards of the Council of Europe and OSCE ODIHR and reminds that the currently suggested draft law has been prepared without taking into account the guidelines and recommendations set out by the Venice Commission and OSCE ODIHR on regulating political parties in member countries. EMDS also notes that, the current draft law fails to reflect the recommendations set out in the guideline document published by Venice Commission and OSCE ODIHR dating 2020 and previous opinions of the Venice Commission to Azerbaijan on draft law and amendments to draft law on political parties dating 2004 and 2011.
In conclusion, EMDS states that many articles proposed in the draft law ‘On Political Parties’ will create obstacles on the way of enjoyment of freedom of peaceful assembly and association and freedom of expression, as well as the right to participate in political life, stipulated in the country’s Constitution, as well as in the international documents to which the country is a party. In this regard, EMDS suggests that after the initial public hearing on the draft law, this document should be submitted to the Venice Commission to assess its compliance with the Council of Europe standards.
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