OSCE, other int’l orgs call parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan ‘undemocratic’
The parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan did not comply with European standards of democracy and cannot be considered a representation of the free will of the population, say the OSCE / ODIHR, PACE and the OSCE PA.
Snap parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan were held on February 9, and ended with a majority for the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP).
Lack of competition and disruption
According to the OSCE / ODIHR Mission Coordinator Artur Gerasimov, since TV channels and other traditional media almost entirely omitted the election campaigns of candidates, there was no real political discussion, and voters were not given the opportunity to make meaningful choices.
PACE mission coordinator Frank Schwabe spoke of numerous violations, both during the vote and during the vote count.
In 16% of voting areas, the ballot box was fixed, in 5% of the plots there were “voting carousels”, and in 4% of voting precincts there was a violation of secrecy.
In 39 cases, members of the election commission did not cooperate with observers, and in 6 cases representatives of parties or candidates were expelled from the polls. At 44 polling stations there were strangers who should not have been there (for example, military and government officials).
In 66 of 113 cases, important procedures were ignored during the vote count.
‘We’re already used to it’
Commenting on the negative reviews, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said:
“We have long been accustomed to their negative opinions. Their conclusions in some cases are written in advance, and not by themselves, but in other places, and then transmitted to them. We have repeatedly observed this. You have also noted the negative attitude of the Council of Europe towards us.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan also made a statement, noting all violations are being investigated and appropriate action will be taken. At the same time, the ministry insists that “these elections express the will of the Azerbaijani people and is the next successful step of our country on the path of democratic development.”