Baku. Ramiz Mikayiloglu – APA. Just as in the presidential elections of 2013, exit-poll will be also conducted in the parliamentary elections, which will take place on November 1, 2015. This study’s orderer is again Azeri-Press Agency (APA) under APA Holding, executor – Arthur J. Finkelstein & Associates (AJF), an American polling firm, and local partner – Citizens’ Labor Rights Protection League.
Exit-poll is an integral part of the modern election system, Citizens’ Labor Rights Protection League Chairman Sahib Mammadov said in an interview with APA.
“Exit-poll is a poll based on a special method and anonymity of voters taken immediately after they have exited the polling stations. The primary purpose of exit-poll is to inform the public about the initial election results and approximate statistic data on the electorate by taking a poll of voters at the exits of polling stations on the basis of data gathered from voters and also to give prompt prognoses of the elections results. The exit-poll results are announced before the preliminary elections results announced. If the official results overlap with the ‘exit-poll’ results, the organization which has conducted the ‘exit-poll’ is assessed as one with high level of professionalism.
A number of foreign organizations have conducted ‘exit-poll’ in elections held in Azerbaijan in recent years. One of the organizations that will conduct exit-poll in the upcoming elections is Citizen’s Labor Rights Protection League, which is assisted by the US firm AJF with outstanding experience in the area, in conducting exit-poll. AJF has invited us to hold exit-poll in the elections as an official partner and we have consented to it. The Citizens’ Labor Rights Protection League defines the legal frame of exit-poll, prepares necessary documents and submits them to the Central Election Commission (CEC), carries out accreditation in the organization, attracts human resources, and carries out organizational and legal matters. But it’s AJF which decides based on what method and how exit-poll shall be held. Human resources who have participated in former exit-polls in Azerbaijan and gained enough experience in this area are already involved in this process. Hope everyone will rest assured that we will conduct an unbiased exit-poll,” he said.
As to why AJF & Associates Inc. has chosen the Citizen’s Labor Rights Protection League as an official partner, Mammadov said the structure has been very active in elections since 1990, the year it was established.
“I would like to note another thing; I have been the chairman of the Yasamal constituency, the biggest constituency which has 58 polling stations with 300,000 voters. In the years that followed, I have also been the lawyer of well-known candidates and I’m the author of several methodical manuals in this area. In recent years, I have, anyway, taken part in the elections, and in the last elections, the representatives of our structure were either involved in exit-polls or participated as observes. The Citizens’ Labor Rights Protection League was one of the co-founders of the coalition, later known as the Election Monitoring Center, and it had functioned under this structure for about 10 years. However, some biased media outlets claim that the Citizens’ Labor Rights Protection League has no extensive experience in the field of elections. The Citizens’ Labor Rights Protection League is one of the most experienced structures on elections in Azerbaijan and from this point of view, it has not been chosen randomly. Simply, for the first time we are going to lead the work on the organization of an exit-poll. Elections do not consist only of exit-polls, the managers and members of the Citizens’ Labor Rights Protection League took part in all the processes, from election monitoring to the organizing elections,” he added.
Mammadov said the exit-poll will be conducted at 1,053 polling stations for 118 constitutencies. “Except for the constituencies of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, the exit-poll will be conducted for all constituencies,” he noted.
Irada Hasanova who is involved in the process of exit-poll as an expert told APA that five polling stations for each constituency were chosen for conducting the exit-poll.
“According to the scientific methodology and on the initiative of the US polling firm, the polling stations where the exit-poll will be conducted were selected by a draw. Prior to being accredited in the Central Election Commission (CEC), the Citizens’ Labor Rights Protection League carried out the work on creating human resources bank and maintaining register. Currently, supervisors and interviewers are being trained in regions,” she added.
Mammadov said the segregation of duties has been precisely specified regarding the exit-poll between the Citizens' Labor Rights Protection League and its official partner AJF.
“Our official partner is developing the methodology regarding the exit-poll and we are cooperating in this regard. We are working together having joint responsibility and reputation. AJF is a reputable organization famous with neutrality in conducting exit-poll and receives orders due to the impartiality. The organizaiton aims to give a correct prediction of the election results. According to the methodology specified by our official partner, the exit-poll will be conducted and the results will be made public. The Citizens' Labor Rights Protection League and its official partner AJF will jointly announce the results. Attempts to overshadow the results of the upcoming exit-poll are biased. This is not the exit-poll conducted only by the Citizens' Labor Rights Protection League. I believe that we will manage it. Our official partner AJF cares about its reputation and receives orders in studying the pre-election opinion and conducting exit-poll.
Mammadov went on to add that AJF has also undertaken to manage the financial resources in connection with the exit-poll.
“This organization keeps all financial matters secret. Expenses in connection with the preparation and conduction of the exit-poll will be calculated by the Citizens' Labor Rights Protection League and paid by our official partner based on our request, in accordance with the agreement signed between the two structures. Our cooperation are based on the law and legitimacy. In this regard, the right to dispose of financial resources belongs to AJF,” he said.
According to Mammadov, during the exit-poll to be held on the election day, the interviewers will provide information in every three hours at 11:00am, 14:00pm and 17: 00pm beginning from 08:00am. “We will gather the information and make public the results of the exit-poll at 9:00pm, two hours after the end of the election”, he noted.