The British Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Ifran Siddique, on Monday (17 August) met with members of the Board of the REAL Movement in the capital, Baku. Present for the meeting were the Executive Secretary of the REAL Movement Natig Jafarli, and Board members Altai Goyushov and Erkin Gadirli.
Sources at REAL said that the meeting, which lasted nearly two hours, focused on the country’s economic situation and prospects for the future development of the country’s socio-political situation. The sides also discussed preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections and issues related to political prisoners, among who is the Chairman of the REAL Movement, Ilgar Mammedov. At the meeting the issue of reports about pressure being put on Ilgar Mammedov whilst in prison was raised. The matter has caused concern in international quarters and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe last week wrote to the Azerbaijani Minister of Justice on the matter. A number of Azerbaijani journalists who visited the penitentiary facility where Ilgar Mammadov is being held were refused access to the politician.
This is an editorial comment by Caucasus Elections Watch
Caucasus Elections Watch is today starting its coverage of the Parliamentary Elections that are due to be held in Azerbaijan on 1 November 2015. Five million Azerbaijani voters will be asked to vote for 125 members of the Milli Meclis – the country’s unicameral parliament. Voting takes place in single seat constituencies.
A free and fair electoral process is guaranteed by the Constitution of Azerbaijan and by Azerbaijani legislation, as well as by Azerbaijan’s commitments as a member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE. Or so it should be! Elections in Azerbaijan over the last decade have however been, at best, problematic. Report after report by credible elections observation missions, particularly those of ODIHR – the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE, have consistently flagged up problems, ranging from shortcomings to outright abuse. The conclusion from the sum of these reports leaves one in no doubt that, despite the fact that there have been improvements in the actual organisation of the process, the elections were lacking in many other accounts, resulting in a distortion of the will of the Azerbaijani people as expressed through the ballot box. More…
The British Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Ifran Siddique, has started a series of visits to political parties in the country ahead of the 1 November Parliamentary elections.
Siddique on Thursday (13 August) met the Executive Secretary, Ali Ahmedov, and the Deputy Executive Secretary, Siyavoush Novruzov of the ruling Party, Yeni Azerbaijan (YAP). The meeting took place at YAP headquarters in central Baku. Issues related to the forthcoming elections and UK-Azerbaijan relations were discussed during the meeting.
A “Needs Assessment Mission” from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE was in Baku in the last days, ahead of elections for the Azerbaijani Mili Meclis (Parliament), scheduled for 1 November. ODIHR usually sends assessment teams to OSCE Member states ahead of elections in order to assess the political climate and the organisational and legal framework, shortly before deploying a full Election Observation Mission. The arrival of the assessment team ends speculation as to weather ODIHR is to monitor the elections at all. Relations between the Azerbaijani government and the OSCE are at the moment quite strained. Baku recently forced the closure of the OSCE Office in Baku, to the consternation of many of the member states. ODIHR only monitors elections after it is invited to do so by the host government.
The Executive Secretary of the New Azerbaijan Party (YAP), Ali Akhmedov told members of regional offices of the Party from Baku and nearby districts that “there are objective conditions for New Azerbaijan Party to achieve great success in the upcoming parliamentary election. Parliamentary elections are due in Azerbaijan on 1 November.
The autumn session of the Azerbaijani Parliament will start on August 30. The last session of the parliament before it is dissolved ahead of Parliamentary elections will be held on 30 September.