Parliamentary elections are scheduled in Azerbaijan for 1 November. All major rivals of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party (New Azerbaijan Party) have been pushed aside: political blocs and the leading opposition forces have already refused to run in the parliamentary elections. This means that no alternative points of view will be voiced in Azerbaijani Parliament in the next 5 years
However, it’s no strange to Azerbaijan: Yeni Azerbaijan is an unchallenged winner in all parliamentary elections since 1995. The opposition and international observers are certainly skeptical about that resounding success. But Yeni Azerbaijan apparently knows what to set against this skepticism: in these elections, the all-mighty party will not only turn out to be without any rivals, but also practically with no observers.
The Azerbaijani Popular Front Party (APFP) was the first to boycott the elections. It said, the decision was conditioned by an unfavorable political situation in the country.
Then N!DA Youth Movement and Azerbaijan Democratic Party released their statements, saying they refused to participate in elections. The REAL Movement (Alternative Republican Movement) has not refused to stand in elections yet, but it has announced in advance that it is less likely to recognize the election results.
Even the Müsavat party, that recently claimed that boycotting elections was ineffective, has finally refused to participate in elections, though it initially was putting forward its candidate. Müsavat, which is considered the ruling party’s key opponent, decided to boycott the elections after the district election commission had refused to register the majority of its candidates. Yeni Müsavat considers all those rejections as unsubstantiated. Another reason – confirmed cases of violence against the electorate, that was supposedly ready to vote for the opposition. Explaining its decision to boycott the elections, the party claimed that the OSCE Mission’s refusal to monitor the elections largely influenced it decision.
The OSCE was expected to monitor the elections in Azerbaijan through a mission comprising 30 long-term and 350 short-term observers. However, Azerbaijani government expressed readiness to receive only 6 long-term and 125 short-term observers. Since Azerbaijan insisted on its decision, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has decided to withdraw the observer mission in response to these limitations.
Fortunately, the elections with absolutely no observers is not the case in Azerbaijan yet: 27 international organizations, as well as delegations from Israel, Georgia, the countries of Central Asia and the PACE, will monitor the course of elections.