24. Nov. 2005


Democrats have to show there political commitment and find the courage to block those who do not serve the noble cause of democracy building and democratisation

From Shahin Hajiyev

What are results of today discussions? How do you asses them?

Generally my colleagues are very worried. The responsible people in Azerbaijan seem to be on the way to miss an essential opportunity to legitimise their polities and politics. We still want to avoid the worst. This means that the co-reporters together with the chairman of the electoral observation mission will be next Friday in Baku to speak with the CEC and the Constitutional Court in order to examine and discuss complaints and to ask eventually form more cancellations. In January we will observe also some o the repeated elections and afterwards come again to access what have to be done better on the legal base.

What was the assessment of the Parliament elections in Azerbaijan by the Standing Committee of PACE?

Many people are very sad to hear so many abuses of administrative power, so many harassment of oppositional observers, candidates and candidates relatives. These are just unacceptable things which discredit every power and politician. Manipulations in the counting and tabulation process were obvious, pressures on the POS officials too.

What was the object of the critic?

We still want to avoid the worst and do whatever we can to correct the biggest mistakes and support an efficient democracy building process. That's why we will come back to Baku before the delays of the Constitutional Court to cancel some results will expire. We hope that nobody will try to sabotage our engagement.

Will Standing Committee recommend PACE to recognise results of the elections?

This was not the task of the meeting this time. Every decision has to be made on time. First we do what we can to avoid the worst. The questions of credentials might be discussed on several occasions in January after the repetition of the cancelled elections.

Here democrats say that the West has exchanged democracy in Azerbaijan for the oil. Do you agree?

No, not at all. Many western democrats fight and do everything that Azerbaijan follows the Norwegian way: Reconcile oil wealth and democracy. Of course this is in AZ much more difficult, because in Norway democracy is older than the oil, in Azerbaijan its the other way round. But you can try to built up democracy and start the democratisation process even in the most difficult context and conditions. This we try to realise in AZ; if some of the highest representatives of our states to not speak this out so openly than we do, this does not mean, that they are not sharing our point of views, they are just less outspoken and perhaps more diplomatically polite.

When you were in Baku last time president Ilham Aliyev promised you to have democratic and fair elections. Do you think he fulfil his promise?

I think, he really wanted to have such elections, but it seems, that he is not able to realise his wishes and hopes. Not all his advisers and collaborators are supporting him as they should. When you read the presidential decrees today they look like a short list of all the thing which went wrong, because many of the regional governors did not do what the president asked them to do. This is a big and a real problem which I would like to discuss with the president too. Last time we had a good talk and the president was ready to consider the use of ink, for which I am extremely grateful to him.

How do you asses advice of International Crisis Group about measures of pressure to Azeri government by establishing of foreign ambassadors team in Baku, diplomatic embargo for Azerbaijan and cancelling of the Azerbaijani membership in PACE, etc?

All this would not be as constructive as necessary. You have to be more careful and more wise in handling people who feel quickly hurt and questioned in their honour. I would support the creation of such an ambassador group, but their leaders have to be the French or the Norwegian ambassador. Embargos have to be smart in order to meet the corrupted people who steal public goods and wealth, and not the ordinary people who live already in very difficult situations. Cancelling the CoE membership of AZ would exactly be what some persons would like to happen; because they prefer an Asian-Chinese way of wild capitalism without freedom, justice, ecological safety-ness and democracy. This we have to avoid and not support.

The situation today is very dangerous, because many feel totally frustrated and lost and they could react on any provocation in a dangerous way too. We have to deescalate the violent confrontations, which are going on in the back ground, prevent clashes and open violence in the public and this we can only realise when all the democrats show there political commitment and find the courage to block those who do not serve the noble cause of democracy building and democratisation. That's why more obviously manipulated results have to be cancelled, repeated and redone in a wise, respectful way: Respectful to the dignity of democratic citizens, to their rights and to the public interest, not in the interest of private wealth and power.

Andreas Gross

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