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.
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.
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.