Tuesday, March 24

A warning from the Council of Europe

Following referendum held in Azerbaijan last week (March 18th), Azerbaijani state (or ruling family) once again showed that the power rests in their hands and to change that...well, much will had to be done!

While the whole process was boycotted and assessed negatively by the opposition, all the changes passed (with 90% turnover) including the controversial amendments on enabling president to stand as many times as he wants.  

In a reaction to the recent developments in the country, the Council of Europe warned Azerbaijan, that it could be expelled due to results of constitutional amendments. The referendum (especially the two articles) violated pledges made by Azerbaijan in 2002.

"We are speaking here on democracy and the rule of law. We believe that if there is no limit, the fact is that a president can turn into a dictator" 

said the senior council official Ian Miscallef.

However, it is rather questionable whether the state is concerned with regard to such warnings. After all, not a while ago, following the barring of BBC, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe a lot was said- a setback to freedom of speech and democratic reform, depriving listeners to access objective reports and etc. The result: radio stations no longer broadcast on radio frequencies they used to. Criticisms, comments and all that was said "went to one ear and got out of the other" simply vanishing and not changing anything. So, hardly, the state is going to annul the referendum, or change the unlimited presidency clause anytime soon.

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