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Article 17

Principles of Activities of Election (Referendum) Bodies

17.1. Elections and referendums in the Republic of Azerbaijan shall be organized and held by election (referendum) commissions.

17.2. under the authority established by this Code, election (referendum) bodies/commissions shall ensure the preparation and holding of elections (referendum), determination of voting results and election (referendum) Returns, and the realization, protection, and observation of citizens’ suffrage rights.

17.3. under the authority established by this Code, the election (referendum) commissions shall not depend on state bodies, municipal institutions, political parties, non-governmental or other public organizations, or other legal entities and physical persons with regard to the preparation and holding elections (referendums). Such entities and their officials are not allowed to intervene in the activity of election (referendum) commissions. Persons intervening in or influencing the work of election (referendum) commissions shall bear administrative or criminal liability, in accordance with the Criminal Code or the Code of Administrative Offences of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

17.4. Decisions and acts adopted by election (referendum) commissions within their authority, as established by this Code, shall be binding on: state bodies and municipalities functioning within the relevant territory, candidates, registered candidates, political parties, non-governmental organizations and other public organizations, referendum campaign groups, officials, and voters. Decisions of superior election commissions shall be binding on lower election commissions.

17.5. Election (referendum) commissions shall have the right, under the authority established by this Code, to use the State Computerized information System, provided that information on voters is protected and not disseminated, for the purpose of informing voters on the preparation, holding and results of elections (referendums); to obtain, collect, complete, re-process, transmit and preserve the information used during preparation and holding of elections (referendums); and to provide information on the activity of election (referendum) commissions.

17.6. During the organization and holding of elections (referendums), election (referendum) commissions, their members and other officials must follow the following requirements when undertaking their activities:

17.6.1. must organize and hold elections (referendums), according to the law; laws should be implemented fully, equally, and impartially;
17.6.2. must treat every political party, referendum campaign group, candidate, voter and other participants of an election (referendum) campaign fairly and equally within the limits of law;
17.6.3. must be neutral and impartial toward candidates, political parties, referendum campaign groups, and voters;
17.6.4. must not allow for any actions directed to or that could be understood as supporting any particular candidate, political party, or referendum campaign group;
17.6.5. must not allow for conflict to arise between one’s official and personal interests as an administrator of elections (referendums);
17.6.6. must not accept any presents or gifts from participants in the election (referendum) campaign;
17.6.7. must not execute any directions or instructions that are illegal and conflicting with their duties;
17.6.8. must not take part in any activities that conflict with their duties;
17.6.9. must not take part in any activity (including private activity) that could lead to a biased attitude towards any candidate, political party, or referendum campaign group;
17.6.10. must not declare one’s position during any political disputes related to elections (referendums);
17.6.11. must not have any contact with a voter with respect to election issues of a political nature;
17.6.12. must not bear or distribute symbols of any political party or in any way express their attitude toward any political party;
17.6.13. must not comment on the decisions made, based on own conclusions, except during meetings of election commissions;
17.6.14. must make possible the access to information which may affect the adoption a each decision;
17.6.15. must create conditions for voters and persons with the right to participate in election (referendum) activities, to become acquainted with documents and information as established by law;
17.6.16 must create conditions for the collection, investigation, and regular, unambiguous, and clear publication of information;
17.6.17. must take all possible measures to ensure voters’ participation in elections (referendum);
17.6.18. must take measures for correct understanding of an elections (referendum) campaign by voters;
17.6.19. must create all possible opportunities for participation in elections for disabled voters or voters with other physical handicaps, as well for those living in distant or impassible places who require special voting conditions.