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’s 1 November parliamentary elections. More…

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. More…

ODIHR “Needs Assessment Mission” in Baku ahead of poll.

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.

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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.

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ODIHR publishes its second interim report on Azerbaijani elections

OSCE_ODIHR_logo_Album_110612On 1 October the ODIHR Election Observation Mission for the forthcoming presidential election in Azerbaijan published its second interim report which covers the period from 12-26 September 2013.

The report notes that “the official campaign began on 16 September and while it has been generally calm, it has been marred by some reported incidents of intimidation of family members of political figures. To date, the campaign has lacked substantive debate and has focused on personality rather than concrete political platforms. More…

Azerbaijan snubs US pre-election mission; Georgia rolls out the red carpet.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Melia.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Melia.

The Azerbaijani government refused to accept a US Government delegation ahead of the country’s forthcoming Presidential elections. A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Baku said the visit of the delegation led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Melia, was “postponed at the request of the Azerbaijani government”. No reason was given. More…