Baku. 2 September. REPORT/ AZ The municipal elections will be hold in Baku in December 2014. There has been political stagnation in the country after the president elections hold in 2013. The preparation to the municipal elections is being implemented only by the leading party "NAP" (New Azerbaijan Party). However, in general, no election activity is being observed in the country. The opposition parties are not interested in participation in the municipal elections. The reason is, that the parties complain that municipalities don't have any status. The parties supporting the participation in municipal elections demand extra statuses for the municipalities. Due to this reason, the opposition considers the participation in municipal elections as a waste of time and prefers the principle of voluntary.
The chairman of Azerbaijan Democratic Party (ADP) Serdar Jalaloglu claimed that his party intended to participate in elections. "We recommended all the members of our party to participate actively in municipal elections. If our local officials are not interested in participation in municipal elections, we won't be able to participate in elections as a party. That's the reason why we are trying to participate. Quite frankly, we doubt about the elections and there are some reasons. Firstly, the status of Azerbaijan municipalities don't meet the requirements of The European Charter of Local Government Authorities. The government must increase the powers of local authorities and establish municipalities in big cities like Baku, Ganja and Sumgait. Some powers of executive committees must be given to local authorities. At the same time, the voting must be held in democratic and legal way. Due to the absence of the above, our members don't want to take part in elections".
Musavat Party has already decided on the elections. Very likely that the party will not participate in the elections on leadership level, but they will probably support their members involved in voting. During the speech of the head of the party's Central Executive Board Arif Khajili, Musavat took the case of inventory in structures of regional organizations throughout the country and held meetings with the leaders of this communities. "We concluded that the participation in elections is expedient. According to our report, the Council of the Party has already decided to take part in elections. However, I suppose, that it will be clear prior to the election campaign".
There were disagreements on the meeting of the most opposition parties in the National Council on the issue of municipal elections. Thus, the leaders of the National Council haven't discussed elections yet. The head of the press service of National Council Oktay Gulaliyev claimed, that the organization hadn't decided yet. Nevertheless, they consider the participation of parties in elections normal. "We must approach the municipal elections as a starting point for electoral reform. The municipalities have become a dependent of the executive organizations and have no government mechanisms. Therefore, there is a socio-political necessity in reforming electoral and municipal systems. All the parties presented in National Council can be involved in elections. Although the discussions of the elections haven't been kept yet, we cannot prohibit it, ."
Classic Popular Front Party (CPFP) has already decided to participate in municipal elections, although they were presented in national council. Mirmahmud Miralioglu highlighted that the participation in elections is one of the most important purposes of political parties. He stressed the importance of municipal elections: "Some political parties refuse to take part in elections citing the absence of statuses of municipalities. I suppose that any political party must take part in elections, so such issues cannot be an obstacle to us. We have already decided on elections, our regional organizations are fully prepared for elections".
Republican Alternative (REAL) Movement, even if Civil Solidarity Party (CSP) considers the participation in elections acceptable, the El Movement headed by Eldar Namazov hasn't made any decision on the elections yet.
Some experts consider that, the reason of not involving the opposition in elections is weakness of the electorate, i.e. the parties don't have enough candidates to present, so they insure themselves by avoidance of participation in elections. Nevertheless, parties link this state of opposition to the pressure of the government. Some parties even describe the participation in municipal elections as "playing the game of the government".
Political experts consider the participation in elections as inevitable anyway. Taking part in municipal elections is very important. Many candidates are nominated, so they get an opportunity to communicate with people living in every region and village. This communication serves to activate voters. Moreover, this voting process covers a broad audience. Thousands of candidates are going to compete for 1 post in the presidential election and for 125 seats in the parliamentary elections. Experience shows, that the municipal elections play transferring role for future voting.