Democratic parliamentary elections – A peaceful transition to democracy

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On July 2, a group of civili society activists and experts announced about the creation of Democrtatic Changes Platform (DCP). An initiative group of the DCP circulated a document on transition to democracy via parliamentary elections. The document says that free and clean elections are meant to be held for formation of genuinely people’s power. Authors of the document believe that first of all it is essential to form a democratically elected parliament capable of preparing a legal basis for radical political reforms. It is worth reminding that the Platform has been initiated by Ali Mustafayev, a member of the Institute of Foreign Languages. Back in the day he headed a territorial bodies department under the Administration of President Elchibey.Asked about why has the DCP been set up right now, Ali Mustafayev replied ASTNA questions.

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Ali bey, you have initiated to set up the Democratic Changes Platform. What”s your point in creating the Platform?

– Yes, we have drawn up the Democratic Changes Platform. This is a product of civic initiative based on long-term studies and discussions, as well as concepts put forward by highly professional specialists and patriotically minded intellectuals of Azerbaijan. In brief, a goal of the DCP is to promote the democratization of independent state and improvement of the well-being of the Azerbaijani society. Nuanced below is the following:

– formation of power by means of free and fair elections to comply with genuine will of people;

– mobilization of the whole society for restoration of territorial integrity of the country; boosting of the spirit of irreconcilability with territorial losses;

– guidance by principles of international law in the domestic and foreign policy and compliance with international obligations;

– enforcement of rights and freedoms of people and safe life;

– building of management system based on principles of decentralization, legality, accountability and transparency;

– enforcement of the law, equality of all before the law, independent judicial system;

– fair distribution of national wealth and income, serving the interests of people;

– ensuring of real market relations, free entrepreneurship and fair competition.

Why have you created the Platform at the present moment? It is common knowledge that the municipal elections in this country are less formidable. Is this about preparations to an important election process?

– The DCP was officially registered and presented to the public with a Declaration of April 10, 2019. Regretfully, the news about it remained within narrow limits. It was deemed necessary to disseminate informarion about the Declaration. By the way, it”d be appropriate to note that “a round table” devoted to the 100-anniversary of the liberation of Baku and held on September 15, 2018 due to efforts of our initiative group.

As for the elections, in the countries with deep-rooted democratic traditions the elections are not a seasonal, temporary and sporadic phenomenon but a permant process in the limelight not only of political community but a society as a whole. It is referred not only to the organization of bodies of state authority but a ritual of socio-cultural and political nature bolstering state”s orderliness and might. To our thinking, the formation of this tradition in our society is a matter of paramount importance. The point is not about a paradigm from elections to elections but about a permanent topic in the agenda which is meant to make a substantial contribution to the development of electoral culture, enhancement of social and political activity of citizens. We are determined to make first steps towards the problem resolution.

– It is common practice that stepped-up actions of this sort are evidenced on the eve of a process. For instance, before elections persons estranged from political community and civil society reappear on the scene. These persons disappear after accomplishment of their mission. Note that your lond-standing estrangement from political community and civil society and the current involvement of some people in the process may raise doubts. What can you say to avert the hazard?

– I hate to confess, DCP-engaged people are highly intellectual, educated, morally good, honest and worthy persons. Our society is rich in persons of this sort, so we consider them to be our potential friends and like-minded persons. It”d be wrong to think that our activity is due to conjuncture or campaign! I mean to say that it was arduous discussions and fruitful debates for more than a year that led to the creation of our structure, and we are hopeful that step-by-step the DCP will become one of the most influential organizations of the country! But you are right in saying that we failed to appear on the political arena.

We are going to dwell on the subject sometime later. In short, we have always mused on the future of our nation and our state keeping track of our contribution to our projects” implementation. Note that abortive activity is sometimes irksome for humans. Still, time is required to settle issues of this sort.

As for the matter of the elections, political processes going on in the country are not transparent, so anything can happen. That”s why we are striving for democratization! When adjusted for the fact that the government is accountable to the people in democratic states, it dares not to spring surprises to society…

– You call all political forces of the country for collaboration in the name of national interests. Is it possible under current circumstances? What good is it?

– You know that Azerbaijan is our common line-boat, so all passengers risk running into a storm. We do not think that all political forces are starving for development of democratic values and improvement of the well-being of the people. Those dissenting oppose us, representing another people, another state. Selection is rather simple! Our goals are in line with our national interests, so our appeals are addressed to everybody! Of course, we are voicing our good will! Like the isothermal scvience, we believe that all will be well! Our aim is to build free and flourishing Azerbaijan and ensure our territorial integrity.

– It is no secret that the lands gone can be returned by means of consolidated efforts of citizens and government based on political will of the nation! We want our people to live in a safe country where the supremacy of law comes to the fore; human rights and freedoms are protected; courts pass judgments and businessmen are not kept down!

– The initiative group”s document says that it is crucial to hold free and honest elections for securing genuine people”s power. Do you believe in it?

– We are not reinventing the wheel. There is no better means for establishment of genuinely pweople”s power than elections! We mean an appropriate method of forming bodies of state public as is customary in the progressive world to maintain equilibrium and concord in society.

As for faith, I believe that a real democracy will ever be established in our country. There is no another way out of impasse. Democracy is spreading worldwide. The quicker we realize it, the greater use we”ll have.

– Your last meeting mentioned the possibility of conducting early parliamentary elections this year. Why do you think so? What are your arguments based on? Are you armed with any information?

– Of course, we heard rumors about early parliamentary elections. However, it has to be kept in mind that their legal basis seemed to be poor while mechanisms of their conduct remain unclear. To hold early parliamentary elections, it is essential to rely with the Constitution of Azerbaijan. However, there are sufficient political grounds to hope for success. As a whole, we believe that regardless of election period, formation of democratic parliament as a representative body securing a wide representation of people may act as a stage of peaceful transition to democracy.

Given the above, we hold true that political parties, civil society organizations and the Azerbaijani society as a whole attach great importance to the parliamentary elections and call all social and political forces to make their contribution to the updating of election legislation and democratization of electoral environment irrespective of election date.

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