Interim Report

KHOJALY GENOCIDE: million signatures – one demand
Shamakhi genocide 1918


Association for Civil Society Development in Azerbaijan (ACSDA) was established with the initiative of 10 NGOs in 2003. The main purpose of establishing ACSDA was to contribute to the process of creating civil society in the country by the means of uniting the activity of NGOs entered the Association and the representatives of third sector. The main goals of NGOs entered to the Association is to attract society’s reaction to the problems existed in the spheres they specialized, to involve citizens in the solution of these problems and maintain maximal transparency in the processes in these spheres.
One of the goals of the Association is to create dialogue between all participants of the civil society (government, society, the third sector, etc.). The Association and the NGOs entered the Association try to contribute the establishment of partnership between the third sector and NGO.
Accepting the impossibility of civil society without fair and transparent elections, since its foundation, ACSDA takes part in election process. In 2004 ACSDA conducted wide range research on the issue “The municipal elections in Azerbaijan”. Besides it the Association was the first who conducted “exit-poll”. While municipality elections were considered as a research object it was taken into consideration that each citizen’s involvement into the self governing system was very important in the development of civil society. During this research, ACSDA learned the expectations of population from municipal bodies and which measures should be taken in order to increase the efficacy of their activities and other aspects. The ACSDA also conducted the monitoring process of the elections with the participation of more than 300 local and international observers throughout Azerbaijan. The sociological research was conducted on the “exit poll” principle in election districts such as Baku (Nasimi district) and Shamakhi.
ACSDA conducted “exit-poll” and “quick-count” in 93 polling stations of 10 districts and parallel counting in all 343 polling stations together with Transparent Elections Monitoring Center and the NGO of Bulgaria “Association of Citizen Initiative for Free and Democratic Elections” (ACIFDE). The Association observed the elections with 686 observers, two in each polling station. At the same time the monitoring was conducted on the information about the preparations for the elections and candidate campaigns lightened in 6 TV channels and 8 newspapers.
Since January of 2008, ACSDA started October 15, 2008 Presidential Election process with preparing the long term action plan and establishing the Election Headquarter. Since January, ACSDA started meeting with Baku offices of international organizations. From January until October, the representatives of ACSDA met with IFES, National Democratic Institute, IRI, Counterpart International, Eurasia Foundation, Open Society Institute, Baku office of the OSCE and Council of Europe and the head of the OSCE Long Term Observation Mission. IRI conducted trainings for ACSDA trainers. IFES gave materials on elections to the Election Headquarter of ACSDA. Since June, the ACSDA conducted trainings for local observers in 12 regions of Azerbaijan, 11districts of Baku, Absheron and Sumgayit. During the trainings the files provided with the books “The Monitoring of the 2008 Presidential Elections. Guideline” and “Democratic Election and Civil Society” prepared by Election Headquarter of ACSDA and the materials needed on the Election Day were presented to the observers.
The Head of Election Headquarter of ACSDA gave information about pre-election activity to the international observers at the meeting organized by OSCE long term Observation Mission in Park Inn Hotel on October 13, 2008.
ACSDA conducted monitoring in 5148 polling stations, “exit-poll” and “quick-count” in 800 polling stations over 118 districts.
The Election Headquarter of ACSDA declared the initial opinion on the presidential elections holding a press conference in Hyatt Regency Hotel at 10:00 on October 16, 2008.
The representatives of the ACSDA observed elections in Bulgaria, Georgia, Belarus, and Moldavia within different election missions. The ACSDA is a member of the World Network of Election Observers ( ) which consists of the representatives of 36 countries.
On March 18, 2009 Association for Civil Society Development in Azerbaijan (ACSDA) started to its wide range activity on establishment of initiative groups, their appeals to CEC, the campaign of signature collection and the procedure of registration, voter lists, the irregularities on referendum process, the legislative basis on referendum, pre-election political environment in the country, the activity of CEC, DEC and PEC, referendum campaign and organizing of monitoring on the Referendum Day. ACSDA prepared its interim report on these issues. The Interim Report covers January 10 – March 10, 2009. The initial report on the observation and on the Referendum Day and the results of referendum will be announced on March 19, the final report will be announced till April 5. In initial and final reports the results of “quick-count” researches and “exit-poll” to be conducted in 800 polling stations over 118 districts together with
“ELS” Independent Research Center will be announced besides the results of referendum observation to be held by ACSDA. The monitoring conducted on 3 national TV channels, 15 newspapers and electron Mass Media.
Association for Civil Society Development in Azerbaijan (ACSDA) will observe 3000 polling stations over 125 DEC. besides it ACSDA together with “ELS” Independent Research Center will carry out “exit-poll” and “quick-count” in 800 polling stations over 118 DEC.

General Review

According to the point 18 of part I of Article 95 and the point 18 of Article 109 of Azerbaijan Constitution, the right to appoint referendum belongs to Milli Mejlis and President of Azerbaijan Republic. The decisions adopted by the referendum have more high legal force than the common laws in Azerbaijan Republic as in many countries. According to Article 152 of Azerbaijan Constitution the text changes in the Constitution can be only by the referendum. The II point of Article 2 of the Constitution says: “The people of Azerbaijan exercise their sovereign right directly—by way of nation-wide voting—referendum, and through their representatives elected based on universal, equal and direct suffrage by way of free, secret and personal ballot”.

In Azerbaijan referendums were conducted regarding various questions during the Soviet Union and after getting state independence. Four referendums were conducted after adoption of Constitution Act “About State Independence of Azerbaijan Republic” (October 18, 1991). They are as follows:

• December 29, 1991 – On 29 December 1991, referendum was conducted to adopt the Constitutional Act of the Supreme Soviet on State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the question was “Do you support Constitutional Act adopted by the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Azerbaijan on State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan?” 3.751.174 or 95, 27 percent of citizens included in voter lists took part in the referendum. 99, 58 percent of voters voted in favor of the question and 0.2 percent against.
• August 29, 1993 – Public poll was conducted on the matter of expressing confidence in Mr. Abulfaz Eichibay, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on 29 August 1993. 3.767.928 of4.097.367 citizens included in voter lists or 92,02 percent voted against confidence in Mr. Abulfaz Eichibay and 77.730 or 2,1 percent of voters expressed confidence in him.
• November 12, 1995 – Referendum was conducted for the adoption of new Constitution with the decision of Milli Mejlis. While summarizing results of the referendum it was found out that the 3.556.277 or 86,05 percent of 4.132 600 citizens included in voter lists took part in the referendum and 91,9 percent of them voted for adopting of the Constitution and 6,63 percent voted against. The new Constitution came into force on December 5, 1995 and from that day the Constitution (Main Law) adopted on April 21 , 1978 lost its force.
• August 24, 2002 – Nation-wide opinion poll (referendum) was devoted to the question of making changes in the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan according to the decision made by the Constitutional Court on June 21, 2002 and the Presidential Decree “About the Conduct of Referendum (nation-wide opinion poll) in order to Make Changes to Azerbaijan Constitution” on June 22, 2002. The voters gave their opinion about the draft changes to 24 Articles of the Constitution. 83,86 percent of voters on the Republic voted by participating in the referendum and most of them voted in favour of the changes.

The decision about the referendum to be conducted on March 18, 2009 in Azerbaijan Republic was adopted with the conforming to the legal procedure. First, the referendum about the addition and amendments to the Constitution was largely discussed in Milli mejlis of Azerbaijan Republic. After then the draft on “Referendum about the addition and amendments to the Constitution” was adopted by the decision of Milli Mejlis on December, 2008 and Milli Mejlis sent this draft to the Constitutional Court for the opinion. The Plenum of Constitutional Court of Azerbaijan Republic discussed this draft and gave opinion (December 24, 2008) on the conduction of referendum on March 18, 2009.

Referendum Campaign stage started on February 18, 2009 corresponding to the legislation. The campaigns of campaign groups were determined for 28 days according to the legislation. It was observed that referendum campaign was substantial peaceful and calm. The campaign group members did not meet with any obstacles in the places allocated for them by the legislation before the referendum. The problems related the right of freedom of assembly were not observed during the events of campaign groups. Free airtime was allocated for the campaign group members in ITV corresponding to the legislation. The campaign groups use this free airtime without any obstacles. Special boards were created for the referendum materials.

The applications on observation of referendum in the area of the Republic of Azerbaijan and should be submitted to the Central Election Commission 10 days prior to the Referendum Day. The applications on observation of referendum in the area of districts should be submitted to the appropriate DEC 5 days in prior to referendum.
CEC published the book “Comparative presentation of the parts of national wide opinion poll of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the amendments and changes to the Constitution” with mass print and organized its distribution among the citizens. Besides it 12 kinds of posters, directions in 4 parts and the bulletins on rules and explanations were published in mass print. Serious obstacles haven’t been observed during the registration of observers.

Primary provisions

41 amendments are proposed to the 29 Articles of the Constitution going to be held in March 18, 2009 that 17 of them are appendixes of new parts or paragraphs to the articles, 7 – replacements of words in articles, 7 – addition of a new word or words to the articles, 6 – addition of new sentences to the articles, 2 – giving the article in a new edition, 1 – change of the article name, and 1 – extraction of word from the article.

Pre-referendum environment

According to the results of the World Bank, the first stage of the world economic crisis has little influence on the economy of Azerbaijan in comparison with other countries. For this or other reason the pre-referendum environment in the Azerbaijan Republic can be characterized as economic and political stability and social security conditions. During the pre-referendum and observation period none of serious influences, interventions and tendencies influencing or violating the political stability and tranquility was observed. The declaration of the referendum and procedures related to the arrangement of the referendum were legally fulfilled. Certain works related to the declaration of the referendum were effectively realized by the Central Election Committee. Activities on the preparation for the referendum were legally executed by the Central Election Committee. In general, positive progress is observed in pre-referendum preparations in comparison with the previous years. This progress is related to the improvement of working conditions in district and electoral committees’ station, solution of financial-technical provision problems, and activities on improvement of the knowledge and skills of the electoral committee members. Web-cameras are considered to be installed in 501 stations covering the 117 district electoral committee over the republic, and these stations have already been defined by the Central Election Committee.
The democratic pre-referendum environment was distinguished by the provision of freedom of speech and the media and establishment of suitable conditions for the activities of the political power. Since, all important facilities for actions of the political power and the media were legally offered. None of actions, tendencies, and influences preventing normal functioning of the media and political power, preventing or violating the electoral preparation of the political power was noted.
9 agitation groups were registered by the Central Election Committee and 124 by the District Electoral Committee. The agitation groups “Movement for Garabagh and the Republic” and “The Republicans” representing the opposition parties are among the agitation groups registered by the Central Electoral Committee.
Normal referendum climate is observed in the country, and the interest in the referendum is quite strong. The observations done by the ACSDA and other organizations, held conferences, monitoring by the media have showed that the citizens, political powers, the mass media and the citizen society institutions have strong interest and attention in the referendum.
In general, it’s possible to note that there is suitable environment for holding the referendum in Azerbaijan. The normal functioning of the political powers, the media, and the citizens’ society institutions was not subjected to obstacles, intervention, and tendencies and the political powers were provided with equal conditions.

Activities of the Referendum Administration

According to the calendar plan on the “Activities and measures for preparation and realization of the referendum appointed to March 18, 2009 for making the appendixes and amendments to the constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic” on approval of the Decree 31/140 of December 30, 2008 of the Central Election Committee of the Azerbaijan Republic the referendum administration fulfills the considered actions.
The Central Election Committee has accepted the following instructions related to the referendum:
1. About the formation of the referendum initiative groups for creation of the referendum agitation groups;
2. Distribution of the signature papers for colleting the elector signatures with the purpose of creation of the referendum agitation groups;
3. About the rules of collecting the elector signatures for registering the referendum agitation groups and presenting the certain instruments to the election committees;
4. About the distribution of the financial means of the state budget for preparation and holding the referendum among the election committees and control over its utilization for appointment;
5. About the rules of opening the special account of the referendum agitation groups;
6. About the rules of investment entrance into financial funds, taking stocks of spending and account of the referendum agitation groups;
7. About the rules of returning back the financial means of the registered (not registered) referendum agitation groups;
8. About the rules of making pre-referendum agitation with the media;
9. About the participation in referendum of the non-citizens living in the Azerbaijan Republic for a long time.
10. About the arrangement of elections in sailing ships under the State flag of the Azerbaijan Republic, oil platform belonging to the Caspian Sea sector of the Azerbaijan Republic, hospitals, sanatoria, resting houses, places of deprivation of liberty, and investigational isolation during the referendum.
11. about the arrangement of elections outside of the borders of the Azerbaijan republic during the referendum
12. About the arrangement of the lections in military stations during the referendum
13. about the rules of untimely elections by the electors in the referendum
14. About the applying the identity card used in the Election Day in the referendum
15. about the applying the “memory booklets for the election in referendum” in the activities of the Central Election Committees
Expert groups for check-up of signatures, hearing the complaints, and for the media were created in the CEC.
The expert group created for investigating the actions (inactions), decisions violating the election rights of the citizens and complaints within the CEC has studied the complaints and decisions were maid on their comments. For instance, according to the 23 January, 2009 appeal of the plenipotentiary representative of the CES “Republicans” agitation groups Gulaga Aslanli, complaints from Tazakend region executive representative, head of the region municipality, and area commissioner of the Jalilabad region, local executive and police organs in Jalilabad and Neftchala regions in January 24, 2009, Ganja city Nizami region police station, Sumgayit, Zagalata and Ismailli police stations, executive, municipality, and police organs of Garabaghlar village of the Khachmaz region in 26 January, 2009, head of the municipality and police are commissioner of the Garabaghlar village of the Khachmaz region, police area commissions, head of the municipality of the Khudat village, Najaran village vice-chairman of the executive office of Khachmaz region were heard and decisions were made. Besides, a respond was given to Gulaga Aslanli’s written application to the CEC in January 28, 2009 for asking for new signature papers instead of spoiled signature papers.
Moreover, the CEC has heard complaints of the plenipotentiary representative of the “For Garabagh and the Republic” referendum agitation group from executive power and worker of the region polis station of Neftchala, Zardab, Salyan region in January 24, 2009, Garabaglar village executive official of the Salyan region, police departments of the Hajigabul, Sabirabad, and Mingechevir regions, from workers of 7th Department of Binagadi Region Polis Station in February 2, 2009 and decisions were made on them.
Under the Articles 25.2.7, 26.1.7 of the “Election Code”, the CEC by the means of TV and radio programs and other translation agencies has managed the explanation of election legislation, provision of legal knowledge of the electors (speeches, interviews, “round tables”), preparation of visual aids (video clips, posters, booklets, and etc.), and their demonstration.
Under the presentation of the CEC Ministry of Foreign Affairs according to the Articles 29.2, 46.1 of the “Election Code” until February 21, 2009, the list of certain election districts for entering in the list of voters on the basis of the information about the voters living outside of the borders of the Azerbaijan Republic or being on a business trip for a long time and registered in certain diplomatic representations or consul agencies was ratified and defined.
Within the framework of preparation process for the referendum the lists of voters were worked out, working conditions of lower referendum committees were improved, new buildings were constructed for most of them, wide-range enlightenment program was carried out for the of the lower referendum committee members and the media, the base of normative legal acts important for realization of preparation of referendum, acts in normative character were adopted and socialized, information about the activities and composition of the referendum committees and list of electors, and the referendum instruments were posted on the CEC official internet site.
The meetings of the CEC were publicly held for the media. So, these actions in whole could serve as indicator of improvement of transparent and calculation in activities of the referendum administration.
The media and other citizens will be able to get operative information via online service about the course and results of the elections in elections day from the CEC “Election” Information Center.
According to the paragraph 30 of the Decree of the president of the Azerbaijan Republic “About the approval of the National Activity Plan for protection of the human rights in the Azerbaijan Republic” for December 28, 2006, with the purpose of improvement of professionalism of the referendum committee members the trainings were held by the CEC till the 8th of March. Two members from each of the District Election Committee were invited to the trainings held in Baku and 4-day trainings were held for them. In general, the CEC has held trainings for more than 30 thousand committee members with the participation of 250 trainers and 9 CEC representatives. In its turn, this has contributed to the effective activities of the referendum administration. During the preparation term for the referendum the IFES organization cooperated with the CEC for holding the trainings for trainers.
Intervention, influence or facts of pressure were not observed for realization of rights and objectives of the referendum committees and referendum committee members.
The problems related to the participation of the plenipotentiary representatives of the agitation groups in the meeting of the CEC were not observed. They were legally provided with all conditions for attending the meeting of the CEC.
Taking into consideration of all these conditions we can state that the activities of the administration for preparation and realization of the referendum could be considered satisfactory. All important measure for not normal functioning of the referendum committees and the referendum committee members were created and favorable environment was established. The results of the monitoring allows to state that the Referendum administration is able to hold transparent, democratic, free, and just (fair) referendum.

The State of Voting Lists

On the basis of article 48.1 of “Election Code” at least 35 days prior to election (from February 11, 2009) Central Election Commission presented voting lists in order to make acquaintance with voters and for additional clarifications. In compliance with Article 46.1 of “Election Code” after approval by Central Election Commission voting lists were published on website of “Election” (“Sechkiler”) Information Center attached to Central Election Commission (; Voters are able to check availability or non-availability of their names in voting lists published on the website. Voters who do not find their names in the voting lists are able in a short period of time to include their names in the lists. This new rule and mechanism started to be applied since previous presidential elections and in comparison with previous elections it is progressive change paving the way for transparency in clarifying and checking voting lists and for promotion of democracy. This change is also regarded as significant achievement in clarifying and checking voting lists, prompting useful activity of election administration, prevention of problems and bureaucratic obstacles. In addition “Election” Information Center started running “hot line” for anyone who wants to get information. At the same time citizens can let know their wishes and proposals through “hot line”. The below mentioned direction is for voters who want to use “hot line”: “Attention! Attention! Dear voter! Please be attentive in filling in mark*. Otherwise your request will be invalid. Please write information with Azerbaijani alphabet!”
At all polling stations voting lists are placed on information board, addresses of voters can be found not only in internet but also on information boards.
During referendum on the ships sailing under national banner of Azerbaijan, on the oil platforms of Caspian Sea part belonged to the Republic of Azerbaijan, hospitals, resort buildings, military basis penitentiary centers situated out of borders of the Republic the rules on organization of referendum are defined.

Registration of agitation groups

When decision related referendum has been officially made public, in accordance with Article 63.1-63.3 of the Constitution, process related creation of initiative groups has started. In accordance with Article 66.1, 66.2 of the Election Code 45 days at least for the voting day by 18.00 pm (by 18.00 pm on 1 February 2009) the agitation groups submitted voting documents required for the registration to relevant election committees. Initiators numbered at least 2,000 submitted written notices to the Central Election Commission, and the initiators numbering over 500 and less than 2,000 to district election committees. In compliance with Article 65 of the Constitution, they launched for gathering of voters’ signatures for setting up the agitation groups for referendum. Initiators of agitation group for referendum launched for activity, setting up a special account for financial fund forming for referendum. The authorized representatives of initiators of agitation groups for referendum, in accordance with Article 66.2.3, 94.3.1, 128 of the Constitution, submitted to the Central Election Commission their initial financial settlement for previous term together with documents necessary for registration for 2 days till the established date.

In accordance with Article 66.1, 66.2 of the Constitution (for 45 days till the voting day by 18.00 pm), by 18.00 pm on 1 February 2009 the authorized representatives submitted the election documents necessary for registration of agitation group to relevant referendum commission.

In accordance with Article 59, 67, 68 of the Constitution, the Central Election Commission and district election committees within 10 days later acceptance of the documents have taken a decision concerning the validation of information given in subscription lists and other documents and registration of agitation group for referendum.

14 agitation groups applying to the Central Election Commission have received their subscription lists. Of them “Democratic Azerbaijani World” did not return the subscription lists. The following initiative groups – “Abad kend”, “Azad sez”, “Azerbaycan Khalg Cumhuriyyet”, “Milli Istiglal” have not been registered because of lacking of the signatures’ number required for registration.

on the initative groups, addressed to the Central Election Comission
The L İ S T
of documents of the initative groups, presented to the Central Election Comission

№ Name of the initiative group Giving time of the document Giving time of sign leaflets to the initiative group Returning time of the sign leaflets Date and decision of note
1 “New Azerbaijan” 06.01.09 07.01.09 14.01.09 Decision N 2/8
2 “Shahar” 12.01.09 12.01.09 21.01.09 Decision N 4/16
3 “Taraggi” 12.01.09 12.01.09 21.01.09 Decision N 5/24
4 “Law and Democracy” 15.01.09 15.01.09 27.01.09 Decision N 7/28
5 “Civil Society” 13.01.09 13.01.09 26.01.09 Decision N 8/31
6 “For Sustainable Development” 21.01.09 21.01.09 30.01.09 Decision 10/40
7 “Intellect” 24.01.09 24.01.09 01.02.09 Decision 10/41
8 “Karabakh and movement for Republic” 15.01.09 17.01.09 01.02.09 Decision 11/43
9 “Republicans” 16.01.09 17.01.09 01.02.09 Decision 11/44
10 “World of Democratic Azerbaijan” 15.01.09 15.01.09 Not returned the sign leaflets –
11 “Abad kand” 12.01.09 12.01.09 21.01.09 Decision N 5/25
(Not registered)
12 “Free speech” 13.01.09 13.01.09 28.01.09 Decision N 8/32
(Not registered¬)
13 “Azerbaijan Popular Front – APF” 21.01.09 21.01.09 01.02.09 Decision 11/45
(Not registered)
14 “National Independence” 21.01.09 23.01.09 01.02.09 Decision 11/46
(Not registered)

In accordance with referendum related making amendments and appendices to the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in order to set up agitation group for referendum 595 authorized representatives on the behalf of 83,484 initiators submitted 125 notices to 116 district election committees. 125 initiative groups received the subscription lists and timely returned them. Of them only registration of one initiative group “Vicdan I”, representing 505 initiators by Sumgait-Absheron constituency 44 has been rejected.

on the initative groups, addressed to the District Electoral Committee

February 5, 2009

Ordinal numeral and name of the election district Number of the presented notifications Number of the initiators Name of the initiative group Number of the plenipotentiaries fixed by initiators Giving of sign leaflets to the initiators Presentation of documents of the propaganda group to the DEC Registration or non-registration of the propaganda group
After official publish of law on announce of referendum Receiving of notification beginning from the giving day of written information Till 18:00 of February 1, 2009
Ten day period after receiving of documents.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
4 – Nakhichivan 1 723 For Azerbaijan 5 12.01.2009 16.01.2009 19.01.2009
8 – Binagadi I 1 701 Yuksalish 3 22.01.2009 29.01.2009 02.02.2009
9 – Binagadi II 1 600 Inam 5 21.01.2009 29.01.2009 02.02.2009
10 – Binagadi III 1 550 Irali 5 22.01.2009 27.01.2009 30.01.2009
11 – Garadag 1 1004 Garadgh 5 19.01.2009 26.01.2009 28.01.2009
13 – Azizbeyov I 1 600 Zirva 4 14.01.2009 16.01.2009 19.01.2009
14 – AzizbeyovII 1 600 Ulduz 4 14.01.2009 16.01.2009 19.01.2009
15 – Yasamal I 1 600 Alatava 3 15.01.2009 19.01.2009 26.01.2009
16 – Yasamal II 1 600 Elm 5 15.01.2009 22.01.2009 28.01.2009
17 – Yasamal III 1 600 Ziyali 4 15.01.2009 21.01.2009 28.01.2009
18 – Narimanov-Nizami 1 600 Zirva 5 30.01.2009 31.01.2009 05.02.2009
19 – Narimanov I 1 600 Sama 5 30.01.2009 31.01.2009 03.02.2009
20 – Narimanov II 1 600 Ufug 5 30.01.2009 31.01.2009 05.02.2009
21 – Nasimi I 1 660 Inkishaf 5 16.01.2009 21.01.2009 24.01.2009
22 – Nasimi II 1 590 Azerbaijan XXI century 5 19.01.2009 23.01.2009 26.01.2009
23 – Nasimi-Səbail 1 605 Inam 5 15.01.2009 21.01.2009 23.01.2009
24 – Nizami I 1 1020 Keshla 5 14.01.2009 21.01.2009 27.01.2009
25 – Nizami II 1 680 Nizami 5 14.01.2009 21.01.2009 28.01.2009
26 – Sabunchu I 1 600 Bakikhanov 5 15.01.2009 22.01.2009 26.01.2009
27 – Sabunchu II 1 600 Sabunchu 5 15.01.2009 22.01.2009 26.01.2009
28 – Sabunchu III 1 602 Mashtaga 5 16.01.2009 22.01.2009 26.01.2009
29 – Sabail 1 964 Sabail 4 17.01.2009 26.01.2009 30.01.2009
30 – Suraxani I 1 600 Nord 3 23.01.2009 31.01.2009 03.02.2009
31 – Suraxani II 1 600 Gunashli 3 19.01.2009 30.01.2009 04.02.2009
32 – Suraxani III 1 600 Atashgah 3 21.01.2009 30.01.2009 03.02.2009
33 – Khatai I 1 507 Ahmadli 5 17.01.2009 26.01.2009 30.01.2009
34 – Khatai II 1 503 Gunashli 5 15.01.2009 26.01.2009 27.01.2009
35 – Khatai III 1 505 Zeytun 5 14.01.2009 24.01.2009 26.01.2009
36 – Khatai IV 1 505 Gara shahar 5 18.01.2009 23.01.2009 29.01.2009
37 – Nizami I (Ganja) 1 509 Nizami 5 17.01.2009 23.01.2009 28.01.2009
38 – Nizami II (Ganja) 1 507 Gulustan 5 19.01.2009 28.01.2009 30.01.2009
39 – Kapaz I (Ganja) 1 540 Metallurg 4 17.01.2009 24.01.2009 28.01.2009
40 – Kapaz II (Ganja) 1 540 Kapaz 5 16.01.2009 22.01.2009 28.01.2009
41 – Sumgait I 1 607 DistrictI 5 13.01.2009 15.01.2009 21.01.2009
42 – Sumgait II 1 669 District II 5 13.01.2009 15.01.2009 21.01.2009
43 – Sumgait III 1 608 District – III 5 13.01.2009 16.01.2009 22.01.2009
44 – Sumgait -Absheron 1 610 District- İV 5 13.01.2009 15.01.2009 17.01.2009
1 503 Taraggi 5 17.01.2009 23.01.2009 27.01.2009
1 505 Vijdan I 5 31.01.2009 01.02.2009 R E F U S E
45 – Absheron 1 832 Absheron 5 19.01.2009 24.01.2009 27.01.2009
46 – Shirvan 1 800 Shirvan 5 17.01.2009 19.01.2009 23.01.2009
47 – Mingachevir 1 1000 Mingachevir 5 14.01.2009 19.01.2009 22.01.2009
48 – Yevlakh 1 575 Aran 5 12.01.2009 17.01.2009 22.01.2009
49 – Yevlakh-Mingachevir 1 713 Arash 5 14.01.2009 19.01.2009 22.01.2009
50 – Gobustan-Khizi-Guba 1 605 Yeni kand 5 14.01.2009 21.01.2009 23.01.2009
1 508 Khizi 5 14.01.2009 21.01.2009 23.01.2009
51 – Gusar 1 939 Yenilik 5 19.01.2009 22.01.2009 26.01.2009
52 – Guba 1 684 Inkishaf 5 14.01.2009 21.01.2009 26.01.2009
53 – Guba-Gusar 1 850 Yuksalish 5 14.01.2009 21.01.2009 26.01.2009
54 – avachi-Siyazan 1 779 Shabran 5 15.01.2009 26.01.2009 28.01.2009
1 510 Siyazan 5 15.01.2009 26.01.2009 28.01.2009
55 – Khachmaz city 1 1370 Renewed Azerbaijan 5 21.01.2009 27.01.2009 29.01.2009
57 – Kurdamir 1 1050 Kurdamir 5 16.01.2009 19.01.2009 24.01.2009
58 – Hajigabul-Kurdamir 1 800 Hajigabul 5 19.01.2009 23.01.2009 27.01.2009
59 – Salyan 1 603 Salyan 5 16.01.2009 21.01.2009 23.01.2009
60 – Salyan-Neftchala 1 713 Garabagli 5 16.01.2009 21.01.2009 24.01.2009
61 – Neftchala 1 640 Neftchala 5 16.01.2009 21.01.2009 24.01.2009
62 – Saatli 1 940 Saatli 5 20.01.2009 21.01.2009 23.01.2009
63 – Sabirabad I 1 572 Sabirabad 5 17.01.2009 23.01.2009 27.01.2009
64 – Sabirabad II 1 1005 Sugovushan 5 17.01.2009 23.01.2009 27.01.2009
65 – Saatli-Sabirabad-Kurdamir 1 694 Donush 5 20.01.2009 23.01.2009 26.01.2009
66 – Bilasuvar 1 800 Bilasuvar 5 16.01.2009 23.01.2009 27.01.2009
67 – Jalilabad city 1 504 Jalilabad 5 14.01.2009 22.01.2009 27.01.2009
68 – Jalilabad village 1 1199 Alar 5 14.01.2009 21.01.2009 27.01.2009
69 – Jalilabad-Masalli-Bilasuvar 1 591 Goytapa 5 14.01.2009 23.01.2009 29.01.2009
70 – Masalli city 1 749 Masalli 5 16.01.2009 24.01.2009 28.01.2009
71 – Masalli village 1 722 Ugur 5 16.01.2009 24.01.2009 28.01.2009
72 – Yardimli-Masalli 1 605 Zirva 5 18.01.2009 24.01.2009 26.01.2009
73 – Lankaran city 1 550 Lankaran 5 24.01.2009 28.01.2009 30.01.2009
74 – Lankaran village 1 577 Ugurlu yol 5 24.01.2009 30.01.2009 31.01.2009
75 – Lankaran-Masalli 1 517 Liman 5 27.01.2009 30.01.2009 04.02.2009
76 – Lankaran-Astara 1 533 Subtropics 5 24.01.2009 27.01.2009 30.01.2009
77 – Astara 1 1035 Astara 5 19.01.2009 29.01.2009 31.01.2009
78 – Lerik-Lankaran 1 718 Uzunomurlular 5 20.01.2009 27.01.2009 28.01.2009
79 – Imishli 1 832 Imishli 5 14.01.2009 21.01.2009 26.01.2009
80 – Imishli-Beylagan 1 522 Araz 5 14.01.2009 19.01.2009 26.01.2009
81 – Beylagan 1 805 Mil 5 15.01.2009 19.01.2009 23.01.2009
82 – Agjabadi 1 605 Agjabadi 5 15.01.2009 21.01.2009 29.01.2009
83 – Agjabadi-Aghdam 1 605 Taraggi 5 16.01.2009 22.01.2009 29.01.2009
84 – Fuzuli 1 1100 Gayidish 4 19.01.2009 21.01.2009 23.01.2009
85 – Shamakhi 1 901 Shamakhi 5 14.01.2009 19.01.2009 24.01.2009
86 – Ismailli 1 800 Ismailli 5 16.01.2009 19.01.2009 21.01.2009
87 – Agsu-Ismailli 1 705 Agsu 5 15.01.2009 19.01.2009 24.01.2009
88 – Goychay 1 524 Goychay village 5 16.01.2009 22.01.2009 26.01.2009
89 – Goychay-Agdash 1 513 Goychay city 5 16.01.2009 21.01.2009 26.01.2009
90 – Agdash 1 1000 Agdash 5 15.01.2009 22.01.2009 24.01.2009
91 – Ujar 1 800 Ujar 5 15.01.2009 17.01.2009 22.01.2009
92 – Zardab-Ujar 1 600 Zardab 4 14.01.2009 17.01.2009 23.01.2009
93 – Barda şəhər 1 700 New Barda 5 23.01.2009 27.01.2009 30.01.2009
94 – Barda village 1 560 Abad kand 5 23.01.2009 27.01.2009 30.01.2009
95 – Tartar 1 1000 New Tartar 5 19.01.2009 23.01.2009 28.01.2009
96 – Goranboy-Naftalan
1 625 Goranboy 5 15.01.2009 21.01.2009 26.01.2009
1 505 City 5 16.01.2009 21.01.2009 26.01.2009
97 – Goramboy-Aghdam-Tartar 1 507 Gulustan 5 15.01.2009 19.01.2009 21.01.2009
98 – Shamkir city 1 505 Shamkir 5 21.01.2009 22.01.2009 26.01.2009
99 – Shamkir village 1 900 Zayam 5 21.01.2009 22.01.2009 26.01.2009
100 – Shamkir-Dashkasan 1 600 Kur 5 21.01.2009 22.01.2009 24.01.2009
101 – Goygol-Dashkasan 1 600 Goygol 3 14.01.2009 16.01.2009 22.01.2009
1 515 Madanchi 2 13.01.2009 16.01.2009 22.01.2009
102 – Samkhx-Shamkir 1 600 Samukh 5 15.01.2009 17.01.2009 23.01.2009
103 – Gadabay 1 600 Gadabay 5 15.01.2009 19.01.2009 23.01.2009
104 – Gadabay-Tovuz 1 600 Gizil Torpag 5 16.01.2009 19.01.2009 23.01.2009
105 – Tovuz 1 600 Uch gala 2 21.01.2009 26.01.2009 30.01.2009
106 – Tovuz-Gazakh-Agstafa 1 505 Oguz 2 19.01.2009 26.01.2009 29.01.2009
107 – Gazakh 1 513 Gazakh 5 19.01.2009 27.01.2009 02.02.2009
108 – Agstafa 1 655 Agstafa 3 26.01.2009 29.01.2009 02.02.2009
109 – Balakan 1 900 Balakan 5 16.01.2009 19.01.2009 23.01.2009
110 – Zagatala 1 745 Zagatala 5 17.01.2009 19.01.2009 23.01.2009
111 – Zagatala-Balakan 1 503 Gala Duzu Düzü 5 19.01.2009 21.01.2009 23.01.2009
112 – Gakh 1 605 Gakh 5 16.01.2009 21.01.2009 23.01.2009
113 – Shaki city 1 571 Shaki khan palace 5 16.01.2009 21.01.2009 24.01.2009
114 – Shaki vilage I 1 581 Dada Gorgud 5 17.01.2009 19.01.2009 22.01.2009
115 – Shaki village II 1 551 Chalabi khan 5 15.01.2009 21.01.2009 23.01.2009
116 – Gabala 1 902 Gabala 5 19.01.2009 21.01.2009 24.01.2009
117 – Oguz-Gabala 1 502 Oguz 5 17.01.2009 19.01.2009 23.01.2009
118 – Aghdam city 1 600 Karabakh -1 5 13.01.2009 17.01.2009 22.01.2009
119 – Aghdam village 1 600 Karabakh -2 5 13.01.2009 17.01.2009 22.01.2009
120 – Jabrail-Gubadlı 1 620 Jabrail 5 16.01.2009 22.01.2009 26.01.2009
121 – Lachin 1 714 Lachin 5 18.01.2009 26.01.2009 29.01.2009
123 – Kəlbajar 1 601 Kalbajar 5 15.01.2009 21.01.2009 28.01.2009
124 – Shusha-Fuzuli-Khojaly-Khojavend 1 537 Shusha 5 18.01.2009 27.01.2009 29.01.2009
1 600 Khojavend 5 18.01.2009 29.01.2009 31.01.2009
1 521 Khojaly 5 23.01.2009 28.01.2009 29.01.2009
125 – Zangilan-Gubadli 1 516 Zangilan 5 16.01.2009 19.01.2009 23.01.2009
1 514 Gubadli 5 16.01.2009 21.01.2009 26.01.2009
Total: 116 district 125 83484 595 125
the initiative group received the sign leaflets 125
the initiative group returned the sign leaflets

Referendum campaign

According to Article 75 of “Electoral Code”, election campaign was started on 18 February, 2009 ( it starts 28 days before the voting and stopped 24 hours before the voting. It starts on 18 February, 2009 and ends on March 17, 2009 at 08:00am). The campaign stage is defined for 28 days due to the legislation. In general, it is observed that, the referendum campaign is implemented in peaceful and calm cirsumstance.
Referendum campaigns of the initiative groups are mainly realized in conference halls, sitting rooms as a form of meetings. The schedule of delivering speeches on ITV channel, as well as the representatives’ spaces in the round table, were determined through casting lots amongst the initiative groups.

Schedule of free broadcasting provided for referendum campaign groups by Public Television and Radio Broadcasting Company on the public voting (referendum) day-on 18 March, 2009 was replaced on the web-site of Central Election Commission (CEC).

1. Free broadcasting was started on 18 February, 2009.
2. A “round-table” is organized on 18:15pm on TV, while, 20:15pm on a radio by allocating 10-minute broadcast to each referendum campaign group once a week on TV and once-on the radio.
3. During the round table broadcast for any referendum campaign group is implemented in the rule delivering completely draft of the referendum act to the electors.

A group of opposition party and initiative group for Karabakh and Republic representing public unities had a meeting with the voters in the “Tabriz” cinema, next to G. Garayev underground station at 15:00pm on 1 March, 2009 because of non-agreeing to accept the place allocated by Baku City Executive Power under the law for holding meeting.

Election headquarter of Association for Civil Society Development in Azerbaijan carried out monitoring of writings published in the mass media regarding the referendum on 18 March, 2009. the monitoring will cover 15 newspapers (“Azerbaijan, “Yeni Azerbaijan”, “Sas”, “Yeni Musavat”, “Azadliq”, “Bizim yol”, “Echo”, “Zerkalo”, “Express”, “525-ji qazet”, “Hafta ichi”, “Uch nogta”, “Khlag cebhesi”, “Adalet”, “Sharg”), news block of 4 channels (ITV, AzTV, ANS, “Lider”) and 3 Internet resources (APA,, starting since 18 January. The criterion of carrying out monitoring is invariable. The state newspapers should observe the articles on the activity of mass media of the Electoral Code during the election, while, the printing bodies the founders of which are juridical and physical persons observe that Code, the law “on mass media” and the Code of Journalist’s Ethics.

The news is about the 9 campaign groups officially registered by CEC (New Azerbaijan”, “Civil Society”, “Progress”, “Intelligence”, “For lasting development”, “City”, “For Karabakh and Republic”, “Law and democracy”, “Republicans”). There is another considerable news up to now: CEC allocated 207 AZN (23 000 AZN to each) to campaign groups; casting lots was held for free TV boradcast; CEC and Baku City Executive Power allocated special places for meeting of the campaign groups with the people.
“Azerbaijan” newspaper prefers official news published by the CEC (large-scale or tirival news on the results of CEC sittings and the decisions made in 52 issues). The newspaper also gave a place for statements by the campaign groups supporting referendum, i.e. 16 writings. “New Azerbaijan” and “Sas” newspapers stated urgency of referendum in the speeches of scientists, and party members as a body of “Yeni Azerbaijan” Party. They also published writings as “black campaign” about “For Karabakh and Republic” and “Republicans” initiative groups, registered in th CEC, as well as opposition leaders denouncing imminent results of referendum. “Yeni Azerbaijan” published 168 writings consisted of information of this theme in its 48 issues, while, “Sas” published 142 materials.
“Yeni Musavat”, “Azadliq”, in particular, “Bizim yol” newspapers preferred mainly to explanative information. However, “Bizim yol” newspaper considers preferable objective information lately and elucidating stands of both parties demonstrating political antagonism. “Yeni Musavat”publishes 179 writings on referendum in its 59 issues, whereas, “Azadliq” paper- 165 in its 63 issues, both allocating a page of A-3 format on average in each issue of theirs. “Bizim yol” gave 131 writings in the 48 issues.
Independent newspapers don’t apply “internal censorship” to individual views of columnists being loyal to traditions. The representatives of both political parties were provided with opportunity to speak on the newspapers-monitoring objecta. All of the independent newspapers published 48 issues since the monitoring beginning. “Express” newspaper published 178 writings, “525-ji qazet” -152, “Zerkalo”-122, “Echo”-67, “Uc nogta”-34, “Khalg jabhasi”-57, “Adalat”-48, “Sharg”-62 materials.
TV channels work operatively by sending a group of operators to CEC and ther events of the initiative groups as a rule. Except AZ.TV (this TV channel does not elucidate events of opposition initiative and campaign groups as a a rule), other 3 channels arrange 2 subjects (0,7 –minute subject) on average every day and bring them into the audicence’s notice. TV channel ANS allocates 218 minutes, ITV – 183, «Lider» – 180, «Az.TV» – 155-minute broadcast to the referendum information. Spesific programs were not fixed since, monitoring covered the news only.
The Internet resources in the country interpreted referendum thoroughly and kept interviews of local and international experts besides information and explanation in the archive. web-site published 436 materials in different themes concerning referendum, while, APA published 422 and web-site-289 materials.
Results: various stands regarding the referendum were reflected in compliance with pluralism principles, independently and without obstacles in the mass media. In conformity with their positions, the campaign groups expressed independent opinions in the mass media against and for the referendum during the election campaign.

Results and recommendations

Association for Civil Society Development in Azerbaijan notes the following results regarding primary stage of observance of Referendum,to be held on 18 March, 2009 on making appendixes and amendments to Constitution:
-the decision on referendum to be held on 18 March, 2009 was made in the Azerbaijan Republic rightly as provided by the law, observing the following legal procedure. First, the initiative of referendum on on making appendixes and amendments to Constitution was widely discussed in Milli Majlis of the Azerbaijan Republic. Afterwards, the bill of “referendum act on making appendixes and amendments to Constitution” was adopted due to 19 December, 2008 decision of Milli Majlis. Milli Majlis sent the draft to the Constitution Court to give reference. Later, Plenium of Constitution Court of the Azerbaijan Republic gave reference on holding referendum (24 December, 2008) on 18 March, 2009 after its discussion.
-Pre-referendum conditions differ for its democratization, provision of freedom of word and press, establishment of fecund circimstance for activity of political powers. Thus, proper conditions were created for activity of political powers and mass media as provided by the law. No case, trend or influences, preventing normal activity of mass media, as well as political powers’ preparation to referendum, was observed.
-the activity of referendum administration can be considered satisfactory through preparation to referendum and holding the referendum. All urgent measures were taken for normal activity of referendum commissions and the members of the commissions; relevant work was done in the line of increasing their professionalism; suitable conditions were created for activity of the commissions. Referndum administration has strength to manage its task by holding transparent, democratic, free and fair referendum.
-during sign collection campaign of the initiative groups, no influence, interference and pressure facts,preventing seriously their normal activity, restricting seriously their activity in this line, was observed. Due conditions were established for the all initiative groups for collecting signs.
-inititative groups, engaged in pre-referendum election campaign did not encounter any serious obstacles during the campaign. Illegitimate interferences, and obstacles were not fixed in the places allocated for the campaign groups regarding their activity, in the rule provdied by law. Serious problems on implementation of free assembly right of inititative groups during mass actions arranegd by them, were not marked. Equal opportunities were created for initiative groups during pre-referendum election campaign and they continue their work in compliance with legislation.


-There is need to widening enlightement work on making appendixes and amendments to Constitution mainly, in the regions up to the referendum day as pre-referendum condition.
-It is rational to take the commissions holding referendum and elections out of the control of the political parties in the future by changing the principle of their formation and organizing of independent persons as a one-stage test examination based on the professionalism.
-Prices of broadcast for productive use of paid boradcast except the free of charge one for initiative groups, choosing proper time suitable for propaganda and agitation, and its determination in compliance with reality can help more successful realization of the campaign;
-There is need to provision of information-communication technologies for referendum commissions of all poling stations and districts like the highest level of referendum administration (CEC) to promptly organize the procedure;
-It is urgent to strengthen mechanisms of public control over practice of law application for productive apply of law “on freedom of assembly” of campaing groups.
-It is urgent to increase activeness of ordinary citizens besides mass media and non-governmental organizations to strengthen public surveillance;
-It is urgent to widen international experience among citizens in the field of refernedum and democratic elections, particularly, enlightement work in the regions.