BRUSSELS — Spanish politician Pedro Agramunt has announced his resignation as president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

“Today, for personal reasons, I have decided to no longer chair the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,” Agramunt wrote on Twitter.

His resignation on October 6 came just three days before the assembly was due to vote on his dismissal.

PACE members – MPs from across Europe – had called for his dismissal after secret documents revealed that some of its members did favours for Azerbaijan in so-called “caviar diplomacy”. The oil-rich ex-Soviet state has cracked down on political dissidents.

There are suspicions that Azerbaijan influenced members of PACE, allegedly wooing them with gifts, and in 2013 the assembly, chaired by Agramunt, rejected a report on Azeri political prisoners.

A motion for his dismissal had been scheduled for debate at the opening of the plenary session in Strasbourg on 9 October. This debate will now not take place.

Following his resignation, the most senior Vice-President of the Assembly, Sir Roger Gale, automatically becomes Acting President. In line with the PACE Rules, he shall act until the election of a new President at the following part-session of the Assembly.

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