November 3, 2015
According to the conclusions by local and international observer missions, including Election Observation Mission of PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe), Parliamentary elections of the fifth call to the Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan held on November 1, 2015 were affirmed as free, democratic and transparent and reflecting the free will of voters. It was also noted that the preparatory measures to the elections and voting processes met high professional and technical merits.
Any particular violations of Election Code were reported neither by Central Election Commission, nor observers in the voting process.
The groundless claims by certain circles as if the elections were “boycotted” and had lower voter turnout, as though Azerbaijan did not allow the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to observe the elections, as well as the attempts of casting shadow on the outcome of voting, to speak on behalf of Azerbaijani electorate and candidates, furthermore publishing biased information on some international mass media without referring to the official sources are unacceptable.
According to the primary information by the Central Election Commission, voting process started and ended at all polling stations on time (08:00 am, 7:00 pm). General voter turnout was 55.7 % countrywide. Thus, 2 million 897 thousands and 188 out of 5 million 198 thousand 658 voters were attended the elections. It shows about 6 % of increase in numbers comparing to previous parliamentary elections.
Furthermore, all necessary conditions were established for freely conducting promotional campaigns by candidates.
On the Election Day, for monitoring the entire process from the beginning till the end 1000 polling stations were equipped with web cameras.
“Els” Independent Research Center, “Opinion” Monitoring Center, a French Sociological Research Center of “Opinion Way”, Center of Protection of Rights of Azerbaijani Youth and a US based “AJF&Associates.Inc” jointly held exit-poll as Citizen’s Labor Rights Protection League.
Elections were monitored by more than 500 foreign and 63.000 local observers. International observers presented more than 40 international organizations, including PACE, Commonwealth of Independent States, Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, Organization for Democracy and Economic Development: GUAM, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Parliamentary Assemblies of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and Turkic Council, as well as 27 states.
Local mass media agencies widely covered elections without any registration or accreditation. At the same time, 42 members from 27 foreign mass media have been accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Central Election Commission for the coverage of the election process.
OSCE/ODIHR had also been invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to observe the elections in July, 2015. OSCE/ODIHR Needs Assessment Mission (NAM) were in Azerbaijan from 12-14 August, 2015 and issued Report on the outcome of the visit. In Report, NAM recommended, in addition to a core team of experts, the deployment by OSCE participating States of 30 long term observers and 350 short-term observers. In this regard, Azerbaijani side addressed the letter to OSCE/ODIHR and pointed out that Azerbaijan would welcome deployment of 6 long term and 125 short term observers in accordance with the ratio between number of population and 125 constituencies and also asked to reconsider NAM’s Report. As a result, without any clarifications about the criteria and methodology in identifying the ratio between the number of population and 125 constituencies and number of observers, OSCE/ODIHR refused holding consultations on its questionable recommendations. Furthermore, OSCE/ODIHR, under the pressure of certain circles and contrary to its mandate, unilaterally decided not to deploy an election observer mission to Azerbaijan to monitor parliamentary elections, as though Azerbaijani side put a limit on the number OSCE/ODIHR observers. OSCE/ODIHR doesn’t have authority to make such kind of decision unilaterally itself. This institution, according to its mandate, should provide technical assistance in organizing elections in the participating States.
In an unconstructive manner ODIHR also rejected Azerbaijan’s proposal on holding constructive consultations in attendance with Serbia, OSCE’s Chairperson-in Office, at the OSCE’s Permanent Council, for discussion of the issue, as well as deployment of technical support expert group.
After demonstration of such biased and unprofessional attitude, which reflected grave violation of its mandate, OSCE/ODIHR and also certain circles do not hold any right to make a judgment on the results of the elections held in Azerbaijan.
People of Azerbaijan freely attended the elections, excising their right to vote and expressing their free will.
Only the will of Azerbaijani voters, their turnout and casted votes determine the results and legitimacy of elections.