The Azerbaijan Party of Democracy and Welfare (APDW) has issued a statement criticizing the bill "On Political Parties" adopted by Milli Majlis on November 29 in the first reading. The document is contrary to democratisation and integration into the developed modern world, as well as the Constitution of Azerbaijan, the opposition PDW said.

In spite of the fact that under the Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 3.5 of the draft law, the legal regulation of political parties should promote political pluralism, in reality the new law prohibits non-registered parties from engaging in political activity. 

Also criticised is the provision that a party's registration documents must be signed by all 50 founders.  It is virtually impossible to gather 50 people at a notary's office at the same time and to verify the identity and capacity of each person.

The demand to provide data on all 5.000 party members to the registry is to use this data to pressure them.

Article 12.3.3 of the new law makes it obligatory for a party to participate in elections, which deprives it of the right to boycott.

The APDW believes that the bill is in the interests of the current government, designed to establish a one-party system in the country and to destroy political pluralism.

"We believe that the parliamentary debates over the new draft law on political parties should be stopped. After the Venice Commission's expertise and with consideration of its comments and suggestions, the law should be put up for public debate.

The APDW called on MPs not to vote for this draft while political parties, civil society and the media should unite in the fight against the adoption of this document.