Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre (EMDS) is a non-partisan, not for profit and non-governmental organization that aims at promoting democratic elections and human rights, and supporting civil society in Azerbaijan. EMDS believes that free and democratic elections will contribute to the development of democratic traditions, improvement of citizens’ welfare and promotion of human rights in Azerbaijan.
This assessment document was prepared by EMDS’s members and volunteers based on analysis of the proposed and adopted amendments to the Constitution of Azerbaijan, political situation prior and during the 26 September 2016 Referendum, official information on the Referendum and information submitted by individual observers.
EMDS believes that comprehensive assessment of 26 September 2016 Referendum requires consideration of all stages of the referendum including evaluation of awareness raising among public on proposed amendments, political situation and conditions prior to the referendum, the election legislation, conduct of the Referendum Day and vote tabulation against the legislation of the country and its international commitments.
EMDS notes with regret that there was no significant improvements in the fields of freedoms of speech, association and assembly, along with electoral legislation and opportunities for political participation during the Referendum. Pressure and harassment of political activists continued.
Amendments to the Constitution were submitted to the Constitutional Court and then put for the Referendum without holding any public discussions and without consulting the civil society, the Parliament and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe representing only the interests of the ruling party.
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