OSCE/ODIHR, OSCE PA and PACE announce preliminary results of election observation in Azerbaijan

OSCE/ODIHR, OSCE PA and PACE announce preliminary results of election observation in Azerbaijan
# 12 April 2018 14:41 (UTC +04:00)

The observation missions of the OSCE ODIHR, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have announced preliminary results of the observations conducted in Azerbaijan’s presidential election on April 11.

Nilza de Sena (MP, Portugal), special co-ordinator and head of the short-term OSCE observer mission, told at a press conference on April 12 that the election took place in a restricted political environment.

She said that international observers worked freely in the initial period, saying "the election administration was well prepared for the election."

She noted that this was the first election held since the 2016 amendments to the Constitution of Azerbaijan.

"The Central Election Commission has developed additional rules, but not all the procedural aspects have been fulfilled. We expect the Venice Commission's priority recommendations to be taken into consideration,” added the Portuguese MP.

The co-ordinator added that the CEC registered 5.2 million voters.

“Voters were able to review the list. OSCE/ODIHR observers noted that a public broadcaster provided free airtime which was used for a roundtable on TV and radio. However, most of the news releases were dedicated to the government, while other candidates were allocated less time. State agencies did not interfere with observers' work. Despite minor violations in the counting of votes, overall vote counting process is positive,” she said.

Nilza de Sena underlined that the OSCE is ready to cooperate with the Azerbaijani government.

“We hope that our recommendations will be taken into account. We will not skimp on dialogue for the development of democracy in the country,” she added.

Viorel Richard, Romanian MP, head of the PACE observation mission called on the Azerbaijani government to improve the situation with human rights.

“We want our recommendations to be taken into account in order to continue our cooperation,” he noted.

Corien Jonker, Dutch MP, head of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission said that government agencies must comply with their commitments and respect citizens' rights.

She said that the New Azerbaijan Party dominated the election campaigns, and some opposition parties boycotted the elections holding two rallies.

"The CEC regularly held open sessions. However, it didn’t publish the protocols of these meetings, which reduces transparency. The candidacies of two persons were not registered by the CEC,” Jonker added.

She said the observers monitored the election day in various places and registered some violations.

A final report is expected to be released in the coming two months.

Editor-in-chief of the "Iki Sahil" newspaper Vugar Rahimzade, head of SES Media Group Bahruz Guliyev and others said that the results of the observations are biased.

They said that the results don’t reflect the truth and run contrary to the Azerbaijani people’s will.

The speakers noted that such a biased attitude of an organization like OSCE towards Azerbaijan is regrettable.