Most Azerbaijani political parties have submitted financial reports to CEC

Fifty one Azerbaijani political parties have submitted financial statements to the country’s Central Elections Commission (CEC)  as they are required to do by law. This was stated by the Deputy Chairman of the Commission, Natiq Mammadov, quoted by the Azerbaijani News Agency, APA.  Mammadov said that four parties have not given their annual financial report. Financial reporting by political parties is a new regulation that recently came into force in Azerbaijan.
On Thursday (13 August) the CEC organised a training seminar for political parties on how to present their annual financial reports. Representatives of the Ministry of Finance, the Audit Chamber and the Ministry of Justice also spoke at the seminar. The website of the CEC said that representatives of 37 political parties also attended the seminar.

More…

Panahov: “Azerbaijan is a democratic country and its elections are in the world’s spotlight”.

The Azerbaijani Central Elections Commission has been working since January to prepare for the forthcoming parliamentary elections in the country.  This was stated by the Chairman of the CEC, Mazahir Panahov in remarks he made at a training session for district elections commissions held in Baku on Friday (14 August). The Azerbaijani News Agency APA quoted Panahov as saying that “the CEC pays attention to the public awareness and a special program is being prepared to raise election awareness”, adding that “ the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan pays special attention to the awareness of election commissions and gives recommendations to the CEC in the orders he issues regarding the approval of action plan”.

More…

The number of eligible voters in Azerbaijan is 5,093,289.

The number of voters registered on the Voters list by the Central Elections Commission of Azerbaijan amounts to 5,093,289, of which 48.3% of which are males and 51.7% are females.  According to the Azerbaijani State News Agency, Azertac the process of compiling the 2015 voters list started in January and was completed in May.

source: CEW with Azertac

ODIHR publishes final report on Azerbaijani Presidential Election.

The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE (ODIHR), has published its final report on the Presidential Elections held in Azerbaijan in October. The Interim Report of the ODIHR International Observation Mission was critical of the election process which it assessed negatively. The Azerbaijani authorities on their part criticised the report and rejected its findings.

The final report highlights serious shortcomings, including in the legislation, in the pre-election environment and during the voting and counting process and makes recommendations to the Azerbaijani government for addressing them.

More…

Ilham Aliev sworn in for third term.

Ilham Aliev was sworn in for his third term as President of Azerbaijan at a simple ceremony held in the Parliament of Azerbaijan attended by Members of Parliament, State officials and others.

Earlier the result of the 9th October Presidential election was confirmed at a special session of the Constitutional Court. The decision of the Constitutional Court based on the final report of the Central Elections Commission stated that Ilham Aliyev won the presidential election held on October 9 having gained 84.54 percent (3,126,113) voters.

Farhad Abdullayev, President of the Constitutional Court read out the Constitutional Court’s decision.

Other candidates received the following number of votes:

Jamil Hasanli – 5.53 percent (204,642 votes)

Iqbal Aghazade – 2.40 percent (88,723 votes)

Gudret Hasanguliyev – 1.99 percent (73,702 votes)

Zahid Oruj – 1.46 percent (53,839 votes)

Ilyas Ismayilov – 1.07 percent (39,722 votes)

Araz Alizade – 0.87 percent (32,069 votes)

Faraj Guliyev – 0.86 percent (31,926 votes)

Hafiz Hajiyev – 0.66 percent (24,461 votes)

Sardar Mammadov – 0.61 percent (22,773 votes).

source: Caucasus Elections Watch with Trend News Agency (Baku)

After problematic election, Azerbaijan remains stuck in a twilight zone between democracy and authoritarianism.

Commentary.

The Presidential election held in Azerbaijan on 9 October, and the political situation that emerges as a result of it, can be summed up in one word: problematic. That this election failed in some respects from meeting widely accepted international standards is clear to those who want to make a dispassionate assessment. Some problems observed in all elections that have taken place in Azerbaijan in the last decade have persisted, and the leadership of the Central Elections Commission, which has remained largely unchanged for the whole period, seems unwilling or unable to correct them.

Context, process and outcome.

The context in which the election was held was far from ideal. The reports of organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the terse but clear concerns expressed by the leadership of the European Union, and the concerns of big sections of the international media, may have been dismissed lightly by the Azerbaijani authorities, but in their totality they provide a negative picture of the context in which the election was held that is serious enough to impact the evaluation of the event on 9 October itself. There was some improvement in the situation in the three week run up to the election which saw the opposition allowed to voice its opinions on national television and to mobilise in the streets.

There were also other issues worth noting, for example the odd way in which the incumbent Ilham Aliev decided to run his campaign, and the late but effective way in which the opposition managed to rally around the candidacy of Camil Hasanly. Hasanly himself gave his all, and was more effective than many had thought he would be. The opposition however failed to mobilise a critical mass for its activities. Part of this was due to the opposition’s own limitations, and part due to the very clear dangers faced by those who publicly associate themselves with the opposition. There is however another factor at play which the opposition with its rhetoric seems to have failed to understand: most Azerbaijanis, regardless of whether they like Aliev or not, do not want to go back to the chaos of the 1990s. Whilst the government cleverly plays on this feeling, the opposition seems to be oblivious to its importance.

Shortcomings in the election process itself were noted, and will no doubt be the subject of reporting by the more credible election monitoring organisations. The attitude of the CEC to be meticulous where its suits it, and brush aside serious shortcomings when it does not, contributes to the undermining of trust in the process.

The provisional result of the election gives the incumbent President 84.73% of the vote with a 72.31% voter turnout. Given the context and the process this result, which in any normal election context would be considered exaggerated, may not be the most contentious part of the outcome. A victory for Ilham Aliev with a wide margin was anticipated and predicted. The pattern of what happened on election-day and in the counting process in this, as in previous elections in Azerbaijan, was chequered.

A twilight zone that has become a comfort zone.

The result of all this is an unsatisfactory outcome. The Azerbaijani authorities have over the last decade positioned themselves in a twilight zone between democracy and authoritarianism. This election proves what some had been worrying about for some time, that this twilight zone has now become the authorities comfort zone. However this election has in many ways proven that this situation is not sustainable. President Aliev will now have to decide very soon in which direction he wants to take his country. His speech on election night gives us little indication of what his choice will be. But once the dust of the election campaign has settled down, there will be important and crucial decisions to make that will define his place in Azerbaijani history.

Source: CEW editorial team