By Ofeliya Afandiyeva
President Ilham Aliyev has said that the February 9 snap elections resulted in the forming of a multi-party Parliament in the country and that all political forces participated in the elections. The president also said that inter-party dialogue will help to implement reforms in the country more easily.
Aliyev made the remarks while attending the first session of the Parliament’s sixth convocation on March 10.
“A multi-party parliament has been formed as a result of the elections involving all political forces, and I believe that this is an important step forward in the development of democracy. As you know, the New Azerbaijan Party won the majority of seats. Obviously, the New Azerbaijan Party has a quite valuable and effective say in the Milli Majlis. Deputies from the New Azerbaijan Party gathered this morning upon my request and took important decisions. My recommendation was that representatives of the parties should be represented in the leadership of the parliament and the committees of the sixth convocation. This has never been the case before. Opposition members were not represented in the leadership of the committees of the Milli Majlis and in the parliamentary leadership during the last convocation. But I believe that there is a need for Azerbaijan to strengthen its political system and strengthen its political relations on a healthy basis. I think the New Azerbaijan Party is taking the right step in this area for the common good,” the president said while addressing the parliament’s session.
The president said that the new Parliament will improve the country’s political system.
“The elections have once again demonstrated that our policy is highly appreciated by the people… The sixth convocation is the multi-party parliament. This is a very positive sign. I believe that the Parliament will and should play a crucial role in improving the political system. All political forces participated in the elections. Just a marginal group, calling itself the opposition, supposedly boycotted the elections. This is ridiculous, because the Azerbaijani people have long boycotted this shameful structure, which has been in the dustbin of history for 27 years. In such a situation, the announcement of the boycott is both funny and surprising,” Aliyev highlighted.
Aliyev also said that inter-party dialogue will help to implement reforms more easily.
“I believe that political reforms should be carried out in the current large-scale reforms period. Political reforms cannot be implemented without extensive inter-party dialogue. One party - the ruling party cannot conduct political dialogue alone. Because there is a need for dialogue and the initial impression is positive. This initiative is implemented without any conditions. However, the association-type group that marginalized and lost all its support, refused to meet... A new political configuration of Azerbaijan is being formed. I believe that the Parliament will take the necessary steps to improve the political system in the legislative sphere and the multi-party system in Azerbaijan will be built on a solid basis. Presently, no serious criteria are required to create a political party. I think this practice should be stopped… I think this will be one of the issues on the agenda of the Milli Majlis,” the president said.
“Both the elections and the post-election period, and the steps taken by the government towards political parties - all this represents a new stage in our existing policy. This is a manifestation of our reformist course. As you know, a new phase of reforms began after the 2018 presidential election,” Aliyev went on saying.
Furthermore the president said that there will be further reshuffling in central and local executive bodies as well as in all government agencies. “I reiterate that if someone wants to work in public sphere, his intentions and deeds must be pure. If a person does not have these qualities, he should quit his job.”
“I recommend that MPs be active in the constituencies from which they are elected and be constantly in contact with voters. It is no secret that in the past, some parliamentarians - to some extent or completely – had kept distance from the voters. They did not visit their own constituencies and were not interested in citizens’ problems. This must be stopped. In the past, there have been many cases – to appoint relatives in positions, to acquire some land, to provide support for some business and so on… Therefore, the newly formed Milli Majlis must be morally flawless. Because, this is the essence of our major reforms,” the president said while defining the mission of the MPs.
The head of the state particularly stressed the success of the February 9 snap parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan: “The parliamentary elections held on February 9 became a significant event in the life of our country. All elections are an important event, but the feature of the current elections was that they were snap. The main reason for holding these elections in February is to deepen the reforms and without wasting time, to organize the function of the Milli Majlis in the new composition. I believe that the electoral process was successful and this time great interest was shown in the elections… Equal conditions were created for all candidates, no discrimination was allowed. In fact, the participation of more than 1300 candidates is a manifestation of their confidence in the elections. I consider that in general, the election process was successful and the election results reflected the will of the Azerbaijani people. The main thing is that the Azerbaijani people were satisfied with the elections.”
Aliyev also touched upon international assessment of the parliamentary elections: “To monitor the elections, we invited international organizations, observers and the vast majority of them very positively assessed the preparation period, the campaign period, and the election day. It can be said that the absolute majority of observers considered the elections as another successful step in the development of democracy and stated that the Azerbaijani people freely exercise their suffrage and the election results reflect the real picture. The international observers who declared this, of course, reflected the real state of affairs.”
“At the same time, always approaching the election process in Azerbaijan through the prism of double standards and in a biased way, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and some structures under its influence, found some gaps and tried to present them as a big deal. Not a single election is perfect. There were shortcomings this time too, and the cancellation of the results in four constituencies indicates that Azerbaijan itself is interested prevent such negative cases,” the president said. He added that the main goal was to ensure a healthy election environment for the Azerbaijani people.
Aliyev highlighted the non-constructive approach of the OSCE ODIHR.
“The election assessment of the OSCE ODIHR in some countries shows again and again how biased and prejudiced their functions are. It indicates that this organization carries out a political order. The last example was the 2018 parliamentary elections in Armenia. As you know, these elections were completely faked by the ruling Nazi Republican Party - I call this party Nazi, not only because of their ideology and their essence, but also for their symbol. It is enough for anyone to see that there is no difference between the symbol of Armenian Republican party and Nazi Germany and the OSCE ODIHR gave a positive conclusion about these rigged elections, during which the Republican Party fraudulently won more than 50 percent of the vote.”
In addition, the head of the state underlined the statement by the European Union regarding the elections: “We did not send an invitation to the European Parliament because, firstly, we are not a member of this organization, and secondly, we do not see the need for it, for the same reasons. Thus, the European Parliament has taken the leading position in adopting unfair resolutions against Azerbaijan. Their resolutions are totally meaningless to us, but I must say that such trends are still observed today.”
The head of the state pointed out that the main task of the MPs is to enrich legislative base of the state, to control implementation of the laws and to follow new challenges in the world in order to adjust legislative base according to it.
“I believe that the legislative framework related to our national values and the preservation of our traditional national values should be wider,” Aliyev said.
“In general, our activities within international organizations should be more purposeful. The MPs who represent us there should be active, not to act as tourists, and then have to report”, he stressed the significance of deputies role within international arena.
Furthermore, Aliyev mentioned the importance of the contributions in economic, social, information security, interreligious and intercultural dialogue aspects by the parliament.
He also praised stability in Azerbaijan.
“The Azerbaijani people live in peace, stability and security. We have been living in a stable environment for almost 27 years. The countries are fragmented, and the geographical boundaries of some countries do not reflect the real situation, that is, they simply maintain their sovereignty and territorial integrity on the map. In fact, they have long lost, they have long been divided into tribes, sects, and different regions. How many unfortunate processes and revolutions have taken place in our neighborhood. What benefits did revolutions give? Only damage, problems, confrontation,” the president said.
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