AS (2015) CR 02
2015 ORDINARY SESSION
Monday 26 January 2015 at 3 p.m.
Progress report of the Bureau and the Standing Committee
Observation of parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova
The following texts were submitted for inclusion in the official report by members who were present in the Chamber but were prevented by lack of time from delivering them.
4.1 Progress report of the Bureau and the Standing Committee
Mr HUSEYNOV (Azerbaijan) – The new year of 2015 has already come in and has one significant difference in comparison with previous ones: astronomers say that, due to the slowing down in the Earth’s speed of movement, this year will be one second longer than the previous one. One second is probably an unimportant amount of time for those happy people who do not care for one hour. However, if the whole world will have to put the clocks back one second, the issue is not as simple as it seems and has a global character.
To push a button with one’s finger is also an action requiring one second. On 1 October 2014, the voting buttons were pushed in the Assembly and a very important decision was adopted. If we want to assess the progress made in the period between the last session and the current one, then the moment of adoption of that decision theoretically should be perceived among the successes of the period which we are now debating.
Disputed and complicated developments have taken place and, having demonstrated resoluteness and objectivity, the Assembly appointed a rapporteur on the escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh and the other occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Armenia’s policy of aggression against Azerbaijan and the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh have constantly generated common concern over the last 15 years of these States’ membership of the Council of Europe. Therefore, such an indispensable step, taken by the Bureau and in general by the Assembly, should certainly deserve to be perceived as a positive deed and an element of progress.
To shoot by pulling a trigger takes one second, just like voting by pushing a button. And that one second is enough to put an end to the life of one person or a group of persons. Now, as we continue our debate on the progress report, the confrontation at the Azerbaijani-Armenian frontier is continuing, tension is greatly increasing with each second of shootings that bring deaths. Armenia, which is being governed much more from the outside than the inside of the country, is not going by any means to give up its aggressive intentions. It does not even hide its intention of putting serious obstacles in the way of preparing the report.
In 2005, the Council of Europe adopted a separate resolution relating to the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but Armenia refused to implement it. The Parliamentary Assembly set up an ad hoc committee on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but for years Armenia has been boycotting the work of this body, which can be useful. How long can we tolerate such cynicism, as well as efforts to act contrary to decisions, rules and regulations? Who gave Armenia this right to sulk and ignore?
I guess that it is high time to put on a stern face. Let us take one second to push the button for this purpose. In the space of one second, let us prevent Armenia from pulling the trigger yet again, causing new murders and tragedies. This concerns the prestige of the Council of Europe, which has tolerated its aggressive member for such an amazingly long time. One second would be enough to say “no”, “stop” and “go away” to Armenia. That second was absent last year and is present this year.
Let us not ignore the fact that 2015 will be one second longer than 2014. Let us benefit from it with goodwill against evil.
Ms PASHAYEVA (Azerbaijan) – First of all, we, as Azerbaijanis and Muslims, severely condemn the terror incident which happened in France a few days ago, and express our condolences to our French colleagues. However, we should also strongly protest against those who want to connect this incident with Islam. Islam is a religion that calls for peace, not terrorism. Parallel to supporting freedom of speech, we should also protest against the humiliation and insulting of religious beliefs, regardless of religious affiliation.
During the terrorist attacks, many European leaders demonstrated solidarity with the French people and took part in the march against terrorism held in Paris. We also supported it. Such a stance against terrorism and killing people should be demonstrated regardless of where, by whom and against whom it has been committed.
Exactly a month later, we shall commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the Khojaly massacre committed by Armenia. The perpetrators of this crime are still walking freely in Armenia and have not been sent before a judge. Resolution 1416 of our Assembly, demanding the withdrawal of Armenian forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, including Khojaly, has been ignored by Armenian officials for the last 10 years. However, no serious steps have been taken by the Assembly as a protest against such behaviour.
As a result of the so far unimplemented Resolution 1416, although it was adopted more than 10 years ago, three young Azerbaijani men, trying to prevent the next provocation of the Armenian armed forces, lost their lives while we were having discussions here on this issue. If this resolution had already been implemented, and if the war had already ended, so many of our people, including those three young men, would not have lost their lives.
Mr MELNIKOV (Russian Federation) – I am going to raise the issue of an incendiary that fuels the Ukrainian crisis: the revival of fascism in Europe. I remind you that, as early as 2007, neo-fascist actions were strongly condemned at the highest level by the then President of the Assembly, Mr Van der Linden. In 2010, several members of the Assembly signed a draft resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism in Ukraine. Among those members were not only the representatives of Russia, but of Poland, Italy, the United Kingdom and Ukraine itself. The issue was also highlighted later in statements and reports. But we have not sensed wide support. The international community has arrived, in some unthinkable way, at a reality where the Baltic States encourage, on a regular basis, military parades of SS veterans, decorate them, dedicate monuments to them and glorify punishers known for their inhuman brutality in the occupied territories.
In the context of this new reality, Europe is applauding the ultra-right Ukrainian authorities who cruelly suppress any dissent. Their punitive squads use fascist symbols; they promulgate terms that stigmatise inhabitants of whole regions as second-rate people; they spill the blood of women, children and elderly people in Eastern Ukraine without care for any conventions. This is not a military operation. This is genocide and neo-Nazism.
The root of the evil is the fact that the Nazis are deftly playing with liberal phraseology in order to win European support. And Europe is turning a blind eye to blood spilt and disregard for human rights, thinking that it can support any regime if this suits its geopolitical interests. Suffice it to say that 115 United Nations members voted for the resolution on combating the glorification of Nazism, while 55 European countries abstained, looking up to Ukraine and the United States of America, which were against. It is tragic that the pro-American alliance of the European elite and neo-fascist regimes is so clearly visible during the 70th anniversary of the victory over fascism. It is a dishonour to the memory of those who perished.
I am convinced that, whatever the interests of the peoples of the European Union and Russia – and we believe that our peoples have more in common than that which divides us – toying with fascism is unacceptable. In a political sense, you are feeding the beast who will eventually become your own problem. The United States is prepared to use any trick and easily crosses the line between good and evil. But as for Europe, it has not applied a double standards approach in the whole of the post-World War Two history, even in the most challenging moments of the cold war.
Criteria to judge fascism must be set without a care for short-term political interests. We find it necessary to request that the Bureau set up an Assembly working group which would include recognised experts – theorists, historians, and anti-fascist activists – for a joint analysis of the processes that I have mentioned with the aim of delivering an unbiased verdict.
4.4 Observation of the parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova (30 November 2014)
Mr COZMANCIUC (Romania) – As I participated myself in the observation mission to the elections in the Republic of Moldova, I believe that Mr Mignon’s report is comprehensive and balanced, and I congratulate him on it.
The election was, in general, free and fair, and well administered; candidates were able to compete in a peaceful campaign and fundamental freedoms were generally respected. During the parliamentary elections in Moldova, I visited many polling stations. The voting in the region that I visited was done perfectly; all parties were represented, and the process was absolutely based on the values of the Council of Europe.
I salute the victory of the pro-European parliamentary parties of the Republic of Moldova and I hope that its modernisation process and its getting closer to the European Union will be speeded up. I notice that most Moldovan citizens desire an accelerated furthering of the country's European road map. I also highlight the fact that Romania will be a partner in carrying out these goals and I confirm its continued support for the Republic of Moldova on its democratic path towards prosperity and European values, including assistance with the implementation of the Association Agreement with the European Union.
I stress that stability in the Republic of Moldova is essential. It is essential that all actors, especially Russia, clearly state and prove their respect for the Republic of Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The potential for miscalculations and provocations in Transnistria remains high. We all have to remain cautious.
Ms CHRISTOFFERSEN (Norway) – I thank Mr Mignon for his good work as head of the election observation mission and the administrative staff of the Council of Europe and of the OSCE/ODIHR mission.
The Republic of Moldova is one of the member countries still undergoing a long-lasting monitoring procedure. Nevertheless, despite many shortcomings, the Moldovan authorities have demonstrated goodwill and visible progress towards European standards. As outlined in the report, last year´s parliamentary elections took place in an atmosphere of confidence. The election administration was conducted professionally. The elections were free and fair. For the first time, the much awaited electronic voter lists were adopted.
Some shortcomings were still noted. In most polling stations, there were technical difficulties concerning the electronic registration of voters. As a curiosity, I could mention one of the polling stations I visited. A young, clever election official got the idea that the problems could be caused simply by the system being overloaded, so, on his own initiative, he changed the browser, and suddenly the system was working perfectly.
More seriously, only a few days before the election, a contestant party was removed from the ballot, based on allegations of foreign funding. Along the same lines, last year the parliament failed to pass the long-awaited law on the transparency of all party financing. There is reason to ask why.
Another issue was the uneven distribution of polling stations abroad. In Moscow, people were lining up for hours. Even more serious was that citizens in Transnistria could not vote at all, which caused the Russian Deputy Prime Minister to question the legitimacy of the elections on his Twitter account. Well, he was, in fact, in a better position than the Moldovan authorities to do something about the latter.
The real challenge lies ahead. Up until now, two months after the election, only the speaker has been appointed. Two parties have agreed to try to form a minority government. In 2016, parliament must appoint a president by a three-fifths majority; if they fail, there will be new early parliamentary elections. Moldovan citizens do not deserve this, so let us hope that all responsible political forces will join together to secure stability and enable the Moldovan authorities to move forward.