The 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’s 1 November parliamentary elections. More…
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. More…
The First Deputy Speaker of the Milli Meclis, Azerbaijan’s Parliament, today called for transparent and well organised elections that could be the model for other countries. Asgerov was addressing a gathering of Chairpersons from the one hundred and twenty five constituencies where polling will be taking place on 1 November for the election of a new parliament.
Azgerov told the assembled election officials that Azerbaijan was a democratic and law-based state, and these principles were reflected in the Constitution. Asgerov said that all election officials at all levels should be familiar with the election code.
An apparent split within the opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) has been dismissed as a government ploy to divide and weaken the opposition by the Party’s newspaper, “Azadliq”.
Former Deputy Chairman, of the APFP. Razi Nurullaev, together with a handful of former activists, yesterday (Wednesday, 19 August) addressed a press conference at the International Press Club in Baku, during which they accused Popular Front Chairman Ali Kerimli of dictatorial practices and of having usurped his powers. Nurullaev said that a congress of the Popular Front was due to be held last September but was cancelled, and that therefore Kerimli’s mandate as Chairman had expired. Nurullaev said that there was a lot of discontent within the APFP and promised to rally around those party members who wanted change
Nurullaev resigned as Deputy Chairman of the Popular Front in February of this year and has since been involved in acrimonious exchanges with Party officials. In his capacity as Deputy Chairman of the APFP responsible for international affairs Nurullaev became a familiar face on the international circuit in Baku, as a regular point of contact between the party and embassies and international organisations. Nurullaev however is not thought to have much grass root support, within the APFP or elsewhere. More…
“The National Council”, Azerbaijan’s umbrella opposition organisation, has outlined what it considers to be the necessary minimum conditions for credible elections to take place in the country. In a report published on Tuesday (18 August) the Council analysis the current political conditions and sets out four demands which it considers necessary for free and fair elections to be held.
The demands include the release of political prisoners and end of political repression; an end to restrictions on the freedom of assembly; a halt to pressure on journalists and free air time on television for political parties; and changes to the composition of the election commissions and guarantees of a fair electoral process during voting and counting.
The report of the “National Council” whilst confirming its willingness to participate in the political process, leaves some questions as to whether it will participate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections if these conditions are not met. It calls on the government to create the right conditions for the elections by implementing its demands
Photo: Leaders of the “National Council”, including Council Chairman Camil Hassanli and Popular Front leader, Ali Kerimli, at a meeting at the international Press Club in Baku (Archive Picture).
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.