The Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Monday decided to send a seven person assessment mission to evaluate the referendum being held in Azerbaijani on 26 September. The referendum is being held to seek popular approval for proposed amendments to the country's constitution. The role of the PACE mission is not yet clear since the mission is too small to be able to observe the referendum comprehensively.
In a move that would have displeased the Azerbaijani government, the Bureau also decided to refer the consitutional amendments to the Venice Commission for an opinion. The Venice Commission provides legal and constitutional advise to Council of Europe member states on legislation and constitutional changes. Earlier the Azerbaijan government had rejected calls from the US and other western governments to refer the amendments to the Venice Commission prior to submitting them to the people for approval.
Mammadov has been part of Azerbaijan's ruling circle for a long time. He has headed the Foreign Relations Department of the Presidential Administration since 1997 and was appointed Assistant to the President for Foreign Affairs in 2017. He was also the Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration.
Demonstrations and street protests in Armenia gathered momentum on Friday (20 April) with protestors blocking traffic in large parts of the capital Yerevan, before gathering for an evening rally in the centre of the city, an event which observers say attracted up to 50,000 people.