ODIHR publishes needs report ahead of Azerbaijani poll. Recommends 400 strong Observation Mission.

The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE today published the report of its needs assessment mission ahead of parliamentary Elections in Azerbaijan on 1 November. The Mission in its report recommends the deployment of an observation mission of around four hundred persons made up of a core team, long and short term observers to observe the elections.

In its report ODIHR says that two  of its officials, Dr. Richard Lappin, OSCE/ODIHR Senior Election Adviser, and Mr. Radivoje Grujić, OSCE/ODIHR Election Adviser undertook the Mission   from 12 to 14 August. The report recommends the deployment of an election observation mission for these elections made up of a core team of experts 30 long-term observers and 350 short-term observers from OSCE participating States. The report notes that legal issues that have been the subject of longstanding OSCE/ODIHR recommendations remain after previous elections unaddressed, including the formula for composing election commissions, procedures for candidate registration, and mechanisms for handling complaints and appeals.

The report notes that although several civil society organizations stated their intention to observe the elections, many noted that a lack of financial resources would likely restrict their activities, particularly as a result of recent legal changes that limit the possibility for civil society to receive foreign funding. The Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre has significant experience in conducting independent and professional citizen observation but remains unregistered with its chairperson convicted of alleged illegal entrepreneurship and imprisoned.

The report says that the Central Elections Commission, state authorities, and the majority of other OSCE/ODIHR NAM interlocutors underscored the importance of an OSCE/ODIHR election observation activity for the parliamentary elections. Representatives of official bodies emphasized that the electoral process would be transparent and that observation by the OSCE/ODIHR and any recommendations for potential improvement of the process would be welcome. Other interlocutors noted the difficult environment for elections and requested that the OSCE/ODIHR cover all stages of the process, with an emphasis on the work of the election administration, candidate registration, respect of freedoms of assembly and expression during the campaign, electoral dispute resolution, and the conduct of election day procedures, in order to impartially document the process.

You can read the full report of the OSCE/ODIHR Needs Assessment Mission on the 1 November 2015 parliamentary Elections in Azerbaijan here