ODIHR publishes its second interim report on Azerbaijani elections

OSCE_ODIHR_logo_Album_110612On 1 October the ODIHR Election Observation Mission for the forthcoming presidential election in Azerbaijan published its second interim report which covers the period from 12-26 September 2013.

The report notes that “the official campaign began on 16 September and while it has been generally calm, it has been marred by some reported incidents of intimidation of family members of political figures. To date, the campaign has lacked substantive debate and has focused on personality rather than concrete political platforms. More…

On the morning of 10 October Azerbaijani politics cannot be rolled back into the bottle, to wait for the next election.

Azerbaijan’s ridiculously young, but amazingly talented, most famous photojournalist, Mehman Husseynov.

Testing the political space: Azerbaijan’s ridiculously young, but
amazingly talented, most famous photojournalist,
Mehman Husseynov.

There are now only a few days left before the Presidential election in Azerbaijan on 9 October. Over the last two weeks the “political space” in the country opened up somewhat, with plurality of views expressed on television and on the streets. The wisdom of the Azerbaijani government in keeping political feelings that it does not like bottled up, and only let it come out during narrow windows ahead of elections, is very doubtful strategically, and unacceptable for many democrats.

The result is the odd campaign that has been witnessed so far. The incumbent President Ilham Aliev is expected to win. He decided not to campaign directly, even if he is seen every day on television “looking presidential”. His party, the New Azerbaijan Party has conducted the campaign on his behalf. It was efficient, sufficiently  glitzy, but overall boring.

Of the other nine candidates only one is actually challenging the incumbent. Camil Hasanli was brought late and unexpectedly to the forefront to represent the mainstream  opposition. He has so far performed better than expected. More…

Aliev addresses issue of corruption in a speech a few days before election. “Transparency, honesty and truth must become a way of life.”

President Aliev's election campaign projects him as a visionary leader.

President Aliev’s election campaign projects him as a visionary leader.

President Ilham Aliev has addressed the issue of corruption in Azerbaijan in a tough speech a few days before presidential elections. Corruption has been one of the issues raised by the opposition candidate Camil Hasanli during his television broadcasts as part of the election campaign. Although Aliev is not participating himself in the election debates he has made numerous speeches, usually whilst opening new government facilities.

One such event happened on 30 September  when Aliev opened the new offices of the Anti corruption unit within the prosecutors’ office and this gave him the opportunity to address the issue of corruption head-on.

The following is an extract of his speech: More…