CIS mission registers no violation of electoral law in Azerbaijan

By: Aynur Karimova

The observation mission of the Commonwealth of Independent States to monitor the election process in Azerbaijan has not registered any violations of electoral law.

This was announced by Yevgeny Sloboda, the head of staff of the CIS observation mission, on October 27.

He told the media center that excellent conditions have been created for the observers.

“We have access to all documents of the Central Election Commission – they provide us with them upon request,” he said. “During our visits to the district and precinct commissions, there were no obstacles.”

The CIS observation mission visited district election commissions in more than 10 regions, as well as in Sumgayit, Ganja and Baku.

“According to the results of the visits, we can say that commissions in terms of technical equipment are ready for the elections,” Sloboda noted.

He went on to add that the work being done to update the lists is at its final stage. Voters are notified of the date and time of voting, and voting procedures are shown on the reverse side of the notices.

“On the other hand, we would like to point out that the work of the commissions is open and transparent enough,” he said. “We had access to the documents governing the electoral process, and we believe that the commission members are also professionally-trained well enough.”

The mission members also attended meetings of the CEC of Azerbaijan and pointed out the transparency, openness and collegiality in decision-making.

Sloboda said that the CIS observers held meetings at the Foreign Ministry, the Executive Office of the President, the government and the Central Executive Committee, having scheduled to have meeting at the General Prosecutor’s Office.

Currently, the mission is analyzing the election legislation of Azerbaijan, and monitoring the pre-election campaign.

Letters are being sent to the state authorities, which are dealing within their competence, with complaints and applications related to the violation of the electoral process.

“The mission will analyze complaints and appeals after October 31, when competent authorities would have informed the staff on the issue,” Sloboda stressed.

Azerbaijan will hold parliamentary elections on November 1. On this day roughly 5.2 million Azerbaijani citizens, who enjoy the right to vote, will come to polling stations to express their constitutional right to elect their representatives to the supreme legislative body of the country.

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.

International organizations and foreign media are showing significant interest in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan.

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.

Some 60,000 local observers will monitor the voting process.

Voting preparations will begin at 7:30 a.m. on November 1 in polling stations in Azerbaijan in accordance with the timetable.

Chairmen of the electoral commissions will declare polling stations open and the ballot boxes will be sealed at 7:50 a.m.

They will also announce the commencement of voting at 08:00 a.m. and the completion of the voting process at 7:00 p.m.

Information on the progress and results of the voting will be provided by the Information Center of the Secretariat of the CEC during the day at 10.00 a.m., 12.00 a.m., 3.00 p.m., 5.00 p.m. and 7.00 p.m.

The CEC has established 5,415 permanent and 132 temporary polling stations.

Webcams were installed in 1,000 polling stations in the regions of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic with an aim to provide transparency to the electoral process.

A three-tier protection system would be used to ensure the smooth operation of mass media outlets, in particular TV channels that will cover the election and the voting process.

An optical link will be used to transmit video to observers on Election Day. The voting process will be streamed online, and it will give voters an opportunity to monitor the results coming from polling stations.

Polling stations will also be provided with reliable telephone and Internet access.