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Aliyev's "Old Friend's" Resignation Can Save PACE Reputation

In the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the situation is unprecedented. For the first time since the foundation of the institution, the head of PACE has to resign before the end of his term. The main party to be blamed for this situation is he himself, president of the PACE, Spanish senator Pedro Agramunt - to be more precise his working style.

Although there is no process of impeachment fixed in the PACE procedures, during the PACE spring session, the parliamentary representatives of the member states demanded the resignation of Agramunt. The author of the initiative is the Ukrainian delegation. It is worthy to note, that the demand for his resignation is explained by the fact that Argamunt did not inform PACE bureau or commission about his visit to Syria, thus violating PACE ethics and procedures. In spite of this, it is obvious that the basis of the reason for the demand of Agramunt’s resignation is his connections with Russia and his visit to Syria with Russian parliamentarians. Taking into consideration the anti-Russian moods in PACE, such a development was quite expected.

Scandalous Pedro Agramunt is known not only for his links with Russia. The same Agramunt is a devoted defender of Azerbaijan’s interests in the PACE. Pedro Agramunt, who was elected the president of PACE in 2016 and was re-elected in 2017, spared no effort to prevent adoption of any document on human rights violations in Azerbaijan by PACE, while  in case of adoption he did his best to exclude any negative expression about Ilham Aliyev. On the other hand, Pedro Agramunt is a number one supporter of Baku in any pro-Azerbaijani initiative (including on Karabakh) in PACE. Sometimes he did not even restrain from using extreme, to put it mild, non democratic methods, such as turning off the microphones of Armenian delegates. It is noteworthy, that the Armenian delegation, who previously regularly raised similar demands, actively participated in Agramunt’s resignation initiative.

The reason of Agramunt’s such a behavior is quite obvious: Azerbaijan was very attentive to its old friend. The reports by the famous, independent analytical center, "European Stability Initiative", "Caviar Diplomacy: How Azerbaijan Silenced the Council of Europe" (2012) and "A Portrait of Deception. Monitoring Azerbaijan or why Pedro Agramunt should resign" (2013), where Agramunt is one of the main heroes, prove it.

The noise around Agramunt once more proves the regularly circulating news that the PACE, irrespective of its declared noble values, has turned into a largest corruption center, which is a serious blow to the reputation of that institution. The resignation of Agramunt probably should become a reason for the real struggle against corruption and for the actions to save the reputation of the structure. In this direction, the first steps seem to be noticed. On April 25, by the decision of the PACE Bureau, an independent body was formed, which will investigate the accusations in address to high level PACE officials, including Pedro Agramunt. Another question is how productive the work of that body will be…

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