OSCE ODIHR, OSCE PA and PACE election observers summoned to Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry

OSCE ODIHR, OSCE PA and PACE election observers summoned to Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry
# 12 April 2018 16:12 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan does not regard the initial report by the observation missions of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the results of the April 11 presidential election as fair and objective, Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesman for Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry, told APA.

The observers have already been received at Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry, and the Azerbaijani side expressed strong protest to them, Hajiyev noted.

According to the spokesman, the initial report is based more on subjective claims and biased political speculations than on methodological and technical approaches on election observation.

“The claim that the election took place in a limited political environment is totally groundless. All the necessary conditions had been created for candidates to conduct free election campaigns registered in the pre-election process. It is entirely wrong to regard as shortcomings the inactivity of some marginal political forces due to their political weakness or lack of political support or less active campaigns conducted by some other registered candidates,” he added.

The media in Azerbaijan is absolutely free, Hajiyev emphasized. “In the pre-election period, there were even some unethical debates not only in the media but also on social networking site.”

Hajiyev went on to say that the voting process took place in conditions of free treatment of elective subjects and voters, and in general in accordance with the requirements of the law.

“It is impossible to take the mentioned reported seriously if more than 60,000 local and international observers acted without any hindrance on the election day and there was an opportunity to monitor the process online through 1,000 web cameras. Any technical deficiencies and shortcomings on the election day are not exceptions. However, generalizing these technical deficiencies and including such ordinary cases into the entire electoral process are regarded as exceeding the mandate and as a completely biased political approach. When reviewing the preliminary report, one can observe contradictory points between different paragraphs. For example, it is totally incomprehensible that one part of the document expresses appreciation to the Azerbaijani government for the conditions created for international observers, and hails the professional activity of the Central Election Commission, while its other part claims that the election was conducted in a non-transparent manner or that the procedures were not observed,” he said.

Hajiyev noted that such a position demonstrated by the mentioned observation mission is disrespect for millions of Azerbaijani voters who freely exercised their right to vote.

“According to the laws of Azerbaijan, the elections held in the country are primarily organized for citizens of Azerbaijan. The citizens of Azerbaijan once again expressed their political will in the presidential election held in a free, democratic, fair and transparent atmosphere,” he said.

The April 11 presidential election has become another important step towards Azerbaijan’s democratic development and the strengthening of democratic institutions, Hajiyev added.