ODIHR refuses to monitor Azerbaijani poll after government tries to restrict the size of the mission.

odihr flagThe Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE, the leading election monitoring organisation in Europe, has decided not to observe the forthcoming Parliamentary Elections in Azerbaijan scheduled for 1 November 2015. ODIHR – an institution that operates in the framework of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has monitored most of the elections held in Europe in the last two decades and has a long history of engagement with Azerbaijan.

In August, ODIHR sent a needs assessment mission to Baku to discuss with the Azerbaijani authorities and other stakeholders the arrangements for the observation mission which was scheduled to be deployed at the end of September. In its report, published on 31 August, the Assessment team recommended that an Observation Mission of around 400 persons, including a core team, 30 long term observers and three hundred and fifty short term observers should be sent. These recommendations were however rejected by the Azerbaijani government who instead proposed that the mission should have six long term observers and one hundred and twenty five short term observers.

On Friday, 11 September, the Director of ODIHR, Michael Georg Link, issued a statement saying that due to restrictions imposed by the Azerbaijani authorities, ODIHR has no choice but to cancel its mission to observe the country‚Äôs 1 November parliamentary elections. More…