Australian MPs to monitor elections in Azerbaijan

By: Amina Nazarli

Australian parliamentary delegation has arrived in Azerbaijan to observe the parliamentary elections to be held on November 1.

As part of the visit, the delegation led by MP Luke Simpkins met Chairman of Azerbaijan`s Central Election Commission Mazahir Panahov on October 28.

Panahov addressed the event expressing satisfaction with the meeting with parliamentarians on the eve of the elections, and spoke of the commission’s relations with international organizations.

The CEC chairman noted that international practice played an important role in further improvement of the elections.

During the meeting, Simpkins and members of the delegation were informed about the country’s electoral system and electoral law, as well as preparations for the elections.

Panahov also highlighted large-scale projects carried out to hold free, fair and transparent elections.

The Australian delegation also visited Azerbaijan`s parliament, where it had a meeting with Deputy Executive Secretary of the New Azerbaijan Party YAP Siyavush Novruzov.

Simpkins hailed development processes in Azerbaijan, especially the country`s achievements in economic and social fields.

He underlined the importance of expanding Azerbaijani-Australian relations.

Novruzov, for his part, gave an insight into the history and activities of YAP.

Talking about the preparations for the parliamentary elections, he said the parliament invited all international organizations and foreign parliaments to monitor the upcoming elections.

Novruzov said about 500 international and 60,000 local observers had already been accredited to monitor the elections.

The Australian MPs then met Chairman of the Party for Democratic Reforms Asim Mollazade, who drew the delegation’s attention to pre-electoral situation in the country and dialogue between local political parties.

Another meeting was held at Prosecutor General`s Office of Azerbaijan, where the Australian MPs met Deputy Prosecutor General Rustam Usubov to discuss pre-electoral situation in the country.

Usubov highlighted judicial and legal reforms conducted in the country. He also provided an insight into what the Azerbaijani government is doing to strengthen the protection of human rights and freedoms.

This year, 769 candidates – the representatives of 15 political parties and one bloc of parties, representing seven parties – will compete for seats in Azerbaijan’s Parliament.

To date, about 500 international observers from 27 countries have registered at the CEC for observing the election in Azerbaijan, particularly the observation missions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the International Conference of Asian Political Parties, Parliamentary Assembly of GUAM, Parliamentary Assembly of Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-speaking States, the parliaments of Australia, Italy, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, a delegation from the House of Lords of Great Britain, the heads of delegations of the central election commissions from different countries and other authoritative bodies