EuFoA event on Nagorno-Karabakh democratic development and parliamentary elections

On 14 July, EuFoA hosted a roundtable briefing on the Democratic development of NK and the legislative elections observation mission by the NK Group in the EP. The event’s keynote speaker was Mr Frank Engel MEP, head of this EOM.

 

After a short introduction by EuFoA Director Mr Lorenzo Ochoa, Mr Engel took the floor to present the full report of the parliamentary elections of 3 May 2015 (it is available for download here). A lively debate among the participants followed his speech.

 

Around 40 high-level representatives of EU institutions, international organisations and think tanks participated in the briefing. As is traditional for most events in Brussels, the briefing was held under the Chatham House Rule, which means that participants were free to use the information received, but without revealing the identity or the affiliation of the speaker or participants. This allowed also for a more frank exchange of ideas.

 

Background for the event:

 

About the democratic development of Nagorno-Karabakh and the parliamentary elections:
The self-declared Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh is a de facto independent state with the necessary democratic institutions: a unicameral parliament, presidency and government. Two relevant referendums took place: on independence on 9 September 1991, and on constitution on 10 December 2006.
The unilateral adoption of international conventions and agreements (mostly those by the Council of Europe and the EU) launched over 2 years ago has contributed to the modernisation of the political culture of Nagorno-Karabakh, in strong contrast especially with its immediate neighbour. In addition, the rule of law is another distinctive feature of this unrecognised republic and fundamental to keeping corruption indexes marginal. NK’s judiciary enjoys the highest level of trust (72%) in all the former Soviet space, which is higher than in most EU member states, and without any doubts the highest among all South Caucasus countries.
As in any democratic state, the parliamentary and presidential elections enable the Karabakhi population to actively and regularly take part in the shaping of the political landscape, and contribute to consolidating the Nagorno-Karabakh governance as well as the development of a more participatory civil society.
On 3 May 2015, the 6th elections of the Nagorno-Karabakh parliamentary took place. Despite the non-recognised status of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and therefore, the absence of an official observation mission of the European Parliament or the OSCE, there was a large presence of international observers. Since Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence in 1991, its positive evolution and commitment in terms of democratic development, respect for human right and rule of law plays a positive influence role in attracting more observers with each elections.
Participation in the parliamentary elections stood at 71%, and was higher than in many EU member states. Together with the quality of the electoral process, this shows strong commitment of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to democratic life and confirms the legitimacy of the institutions of Nagorno-Karabakh
About the EOM by the NK group in the European Parliament:
Following an invitation by Mr Ashot Ghulyan, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Nagorno-Karabakh Group in the European Parliament decided to send a delegation to observe the legislative elections in Nagorno-Karabakh scheduled for 3 May 2015.
The delegation was headed by Mr Frank Engel MEP, President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Group in the European Parliament, and was composed of several MEPs and supporting staff. It represented different EU countries and major political groups in the European Parliament.
The delegation’s members conducted their activities between 2 and 4 May, and also cooperated with other present Parliamentarians from EU Member States. Their short-term observation mission was conducted in accordance with the European Parliament practices, starting with interviews to all candidates the day before the elections, then observing over 20 polling stations, including the opening of some, as well as the counting and closing.

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