The Azerbaijani Central Elections Commission has refused to register Ilgar Mammedov as a candidate in next month’s Presidential elections, saying that some of the signatures of the 40,000 needed to nominate a Presidential candidate were false. Mammedov is currently in jail accused of inciting violence during incidents in the region of Ismail last January. Amnesty International has declared him a prisoner of conscience.
The Azerbaijani Central Elections Commission stated that Ilgar Mammedov had submitted 41 247 signatures and 4 982 out of them turned out to be invalid.
According to the Azerbaijani Press Agency (APA) CEC chairman Mazahir Panahov said that representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan also took part in the checking process of the signatures, along with the representatives of international organization: “In general, all our steps are clear.” However, the Press service of the US Embassy in Azerbaijan told APA that the Embassy did not play any role in the process: “The reports that the representative of the US Embassy took part in the counting of the signatures are groundless”.
Meanwhile, the other opposition candidate Jamil Hasanli who is the candidate of the unified opposition National Council, and who is currently visiting London, expressed his disappointment at the decision of the Central Electoral Commission not to register REAL’s presidential candidate Ilgar Mammedov. A spokesman for Hasanli said that during his visit to London Mr Hasanli and National Council Executive Committee chair, Eldar Namazov, have consistently raised the issue of Ilgar Mammedov’s detention and violation of his rights. “There can be no possibility of a democratic, free and fair election when candidates are imprisoned and refused registration; when election laws are regularly violated; when the incumbent abuses administrative resources to promote his own candidacy, when over a hundred political prisoners continue to languish in jails (including more than ten members of the National Council). Jamil Hasanli expresses his support and solidarity with Ilgar Mammedov and looks forward to working with REAL and all democratic forces in and outside of the National Council, on our common aim of making Azerbaijan a free, democratic and prosperous country.”