Baku says “boycott” of parliamentary election by ODIHR unacceptable

By: Aynur Karimova

OSCE/ODIHR and some other structures have no reason to express any opinion about Azerbaijan’s November 1 parliamentary election, taking into account the violation of mandate by those structures and their unprofessional behavior, said Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.

PACE’s observer mission, and other international and local missions confirmed that the election, held in Azerbaijan Nov. 1, was free and democratic, reflected the voters’ will, while the election preparations and the voting process were organized at a high level, according to a message issued by the ministry Nov. 3.

The voting process complied with the Electoral Code of Azerbaijan, and neither the Central Election Commission, nor the international observers had any complaints regarding the electoral process.

“Some circles’ talks about a “boycott” of the election, statements about a low voter turnout and that allegedly Azerbaijan didn’t create an opportunity for the ODIHR to observe the election, are absolutely groundless accusations aimed at casting shadow on the Azerbaijani election results,” said the ministry.

The ministry added that the attempts to speak on behalf of the Azerbaijani voters and candidates, as well as some international media outlets’ biased reports, which don’t have any reference to official sources, are absolutely inadmissible.

All the necessary conditions were created for candidates during the election for them to freely hold campaigns, said the ministry, adding that webcams were installed at polling stations and independent research centers conducted exit polls.

“The election was monitored by over 500 international and over 63,000 local observers,” noted the Foreign Ministry. “International observers were representing over 40 international organizations and 27 countries.”

The election was covered by local and foreign media, according to the ministry.

The Foreign Ministry also said in its message that in July this year, it sent an invitation to the OSCE/ODIHR, and on Aug. 12-14, a mission of that structure visited Azerbaijan and prepared a report, recommending 30 long-term and 350 short-term observers.

After the Azerbaijani side recommended sending a smaller observation mission to the country with 125 constituencies, OSCE/ODIHR violated its mandate and refused to send its observers to the country.

OSCE/ODIHR has no right to unilaterally adopt such a decision, said the Foreign Ministry, adding that this institute, according to its mandate, should provide technical support to member countries in organizing and holding elections.

Following such a biased and unprofessional attitude of OSCE/ ODIHR, coupled with a serious violation of its mandate, this structure and other circles have no grounds to express an opinion on the results of the election in Azerbaijan, according to the message.

Azerbaijani people freely used their right to vote and participated in this election, said the ministry, adding that the results and legitimacy of the election is determined by voters, their activity and their votes.

Under the Helsinki Document, adopted in 1992, the OSCE/ODIHR’s main role lies in helping member states in implementing commitments in the human rights area.

According to a decision made by the OSCE Budapest Summit in 1994, the OSCE/ODIHR’s is set to carry out the function of an advisor. Under the Budapest document, the ODIHR, in consultation with the chairman-in-office, and acting in an advisory capacity, will take part in discussions with the Permanent Council, and provide information on implemented issues. Acting in close consultation with the chairman-in-office, the director of the ODIHR may propose further action.

As it can be seen, the OSCE/ODIHR has no authority to make a unilateral decision without consultation with the chairman-in-office and the corresponding member state.

ODIHR usually sends 400 or 500 observers to the OSCE member states with a population of over 100 million people. In this regard, sending 400 observers to Azerbaijan with a population of 9.6 million does not correspond to any logic and is disproportionate.


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