IN THE RUN-UP to the Presidential elections of 9 October 2013, the basis for a free and fair election was not in place: the freedom of assembly was restricted, civil society’s activities systematically curtailed, and journalists harassed and intimated. On the policy level, public consultations do not feature in the policymaking process in Azerbaijan. However, in some cases, government agencies invite pro-government civil society organisations to closed-door consultations. In 2013, the EU delegation made several attempts to bring the Civil Society Forum national platform and the government together for discussions on thematic issues, but without success.
The government was expected to participate in the discussions of the Venice Commission’s Proposals on NGO law of Azerbaijan, but did not attend. An exception was the development concept on “Azerbaijan 2020: the Vision of the Future”, where consultations with civil society did take place, although not on the text of the concept itself.