Azerbaijan election lacked genuine competition in an environment of curtailed rights and freedoms - OSCE

16:33 • 12.04.18



The early presidential election in Azerbaijan took place within a restrictive political environment and under laws that curtail fundamental rights and freedoms, which are prerequisites for genuine democratic elections.

Against this backdrop and in the absence of pluralism, including in the media, the election lacked genuine competition. Other candidates refrained from directly challenging or criticizing the incumbent, and distinction was not made between his campaign and his official activities, the international observers concluded in a preliminary statement today. At the same time, the authorities were co-operative and international observers were able to operate freely in the pre-election period, and the election administration was well resourced and prepared the election efficiently.

 

On election day the observers reported widespread disregard for mandatory procedures, a lack of transparency, and numerous serious irregularities, including ballot box stuffing. More than half of the vote counts were assessed negatively, largely due to deliberate falsifications and an obvious disregard for procedures.


“We have noted the positive attitude displayed by the national authorities of Azerbaijan towards international election observation, as well as the professional work of the Central Election Commission in the pre-election period. We stand ready to continue our co-operation and turn it into a joint effort to tackle the fundamental problems that a restrictive political and legal environment, which does not allow for genuine competition, poses for free elections,” said Nilza de Sena, Special Co-ordinator and Leader of the short-term OSCE observation mission. “I encourage the authorities to take good note of the recommendations ODIHR will make in their final report. We will be ready to assist in this process, if requested by Azerbaijan, and to continue our dialogue on the future development of the country`s democracy.”


The election took place in conditions dominated by the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP), which nominated the incumbent president as one of the eight candidates who took part. Some opposition parties boycotted the election, citing a non-competitive environment, while others not participating said the early election date left them with insufficient time to do so meaningfully.


Overall, the campaign generated limited public engagement. The ruling party campaign in favour of the incumbent was well-organized and well-resourced, while the candidate did not campaign himself but made visits across the country and received many high-profile foreign dignitaries in his official capacity. The campaigns of the other seven candidates were limited and appeared hampered by a lack of regional structures and resources.


“We have to consider that, in a political environment where democratic principles are compromised and the rule of law is not observed, fair and free elections are not possible,” said Viorel Riceard Badea, Head of the delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. “On election day we observed several irregularities, but there is no way to know how this affected the outcome of the election.”


Highly restrictive laws related to the media challenge the freedoms of expression and the press, and extend also to website and social media content. Defamation is a criminal offense, punishable by imprisonment and with additional penalties for defamation of the president, further limiting the freedom of expression key to political campaigning, the observers said. The largest part of the political coverage in media outlets monitored was of the incumbent in his official capacity, while all other candidates combined received only a fraction of the time. As required by law, the public broadcaster allocated free airtime to candidates, although only through roundtable discussions on television and radio.


“A few weeks of campaigning during which candidates could present their views on television cannot make up for years during which restrictions on freedom of expression have stifled political debate,” said Margareta Kiener Nellen, Head of the delegation from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. “The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will certainly continue to support all steps by the authorities that will bring the country forward on a path towards creating the open political environment necessary for truly free and fair elections.”


“Fundamental rights and freedoms, which are pre-requisites for genuine democratic elections, are severely restricted in practice,” said Corien Jonker, Head of the Election Observation Mission from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. “The authorities should deliver on Azerbaijan’s commitment as an OSCE participating State to respect, protect and support the democratic rights of its citizens.”


The election administration at all levels appeared highly organized and well-resourced but, due to the lack of political differentiation between the three groups in parliament that nominate commissioners, there is no guarantee the administration is impartial, the observers said.  The Central Election Commission held regular public sessions at which no dissenting or argumentative opinions were stated, and the majority of members did not engage in any discussions.


The CEC denied registration to two nominees after ruling a considerable number of the supporting signatures they submitted as duplicate or invalid, leaving them short of the total required. The CEC working group responsible for the verification of signatures was unable to clearly demonstrate the process was technically adequate and accountable. There is no legal provision for nominees to address errors or shortcomings identified by the CEC in relation to the signatures.

 

The CEC reported registering a total of 58,175 domestic observers, including 4,041 accredited by NGOs, while a number of the international observers’ interlocutors maintained that obstacles introduced by the government and the election administration limit the ability of civil-society organizations to operate. One such organization remains unregistered since 2008, and its volunteers had to accredit themselves individually, some of them facing difficulties.


This was the first presidential election since constitutional amendments in 2016 further increasing the powers of the president. A number of constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights and freedoms related to elections are subject in practice to legal and administrative restrictions. The Election Code is detailed and well-structured. Although a few previous ODIHR recommendations in this area have been taken into account, none of the priority recommendations by ODIHR and Venice Commission were addressed.


 





Загрузка...

LATEST NEWSAll Today news

18:13 • 19/09

Contract serviceman fatally wounded in Armenia’s north-east

17:50 • 19/09

Dunja Mijatović: Legal incapacity of individuals with disabilities 'challenge to their rights' in Armenia

16:18 • 19/09

IBM launches AI bias detector

15:52 • 19/09

Kocharyan explains reasons behind ‘political comeback’

15:08 • 19/09

Azerbaijan, Russia conduct joint drills in Caspian Sea

13:07 • 19/09

The Weeknd sued 'for at least $5m' for 'stealing' his hit song Starboy from another artist

12:36 • 19/09

EU 'ready to improve' Irish border deal

12:09 • 19/09

Trump hails 'exciting' agreements by North Korean leader

12:05 • 19/09

Turkish workers arrested after Istanbul airport protests  

11:30 • 19/09

Trump considers request for US military base in Poland

11:18 • 19/09

Jessica Simpson expecting third baby

11:06 • 19/09

Facebook accused of gender discrimination in job adss

10:34 • 19/09

We are ready for negotiations but must be prepared for war, prime minister says in Artsakh

09:24 • 19/09

Pentagon lists Russia, China as biggest threats to US

09:13 • 19/09

North and South Koreas ‘commit to era of no wars’

17:56 • 18/09

Armenian khachkar unveiled in Polish city

17:05 • 18/09

Armenian parliament official briefs PACE committee on Azerbaijani aggression against Armenian civilian settlements

16:55 • 18/09

Ucom doubles inclusions of uDaily prepay mobile internet service

16:35 • 18/09

Former Liverpool defender forced to retire with motor neurone disease just months after marrying England women's captain 

16:22 • 18/09

Armenia, China sign deal to facilitate air communication

15:40 • 18/09

Trump orders release of classified documents in Russia probe

15:24 • 18/09

Armenian government delegation conducts visit to Nagorno-Karabakh

14:51 • 18/09

Central Bank chief re-elected president of interstate bank council

14:40 • 18/09

Armenian defense minister meets with FAST foundation president

14:08 • 18/09

NASA's new spacecraft captures photo of more than a dozen celestial objects known to host exoplanets in stunning 'first light' image

13:45 • 18/09

Pakistan's austerity car auction falls short, new PM commutes by helicopter

13:25 • 18/09

Armenian family’s 400-year-old musical secret still rings true

13:17 • 18/09

Russia blames Israel for downing of plane, vows retaliation

12:45 • 18/09

Chief architect of Yerevan sacked

12:25 • 18/09

Republic Square selected as 'hot spot' of independence day events to symbolize success in ‘Velvet Revolution’

11:26 • 18/09

Libarman’s visit to Baku signals strengthening Azerbaijani-Israeli relations

11:09 • 18/09

Zhoghovurd: OSCE to turn closer spotlight on situation along Karabakh frontline

10:35 • 18/09

Russian military plane disappears during Israeli strikes on Latakia with 14 people on board

10:13 • 18/09

Zhamanak: Putin planning meeting with former presidents in Yerevan

09:56 • 18/09

SpaceX unveils first Moon Loop tourist

09:51 • 18/09

Sean Penn Calls #MeToo Movement ‘Receptacle of the Salacious’

09:44 • 18/09

Florence leaves 'monumental disaster' for North Carolina

09:31 • 18/09

Magnitude 1.9 earthquake hits Armenia’s south

09:13 • 18/09

SpaceX signs first private moon customer

09:12 • 18/09

Russia and Turkey agree to create buffer zone in Syria's Idlib

19:40 • 17/09

Facts, figures, and Results: Zvartnots International Airport reports details on its activity and not օnly

17:53 • 17/09

French actor Gerard Depardieu 'wants' to acquire Turkish citizenship

17:35 • 17/09

New head of OSCE Mission to Skopje takes office

17:23 • 17/09

Ukraine's Poroshenko terminates Treaty of Friendship with Russia

16:38 • 17/09

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 reportedly catches fire in user’s purse  

16:05 • 17/09

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Nagorno-Karabakh is not just conflict for Armenia

15:17 • 17/09

Turkish Coast Guard rescues 16 migrants as boat capsizes

14:46 • 17/09

Yerevan hosts 11th Armrobotics Championship

12:46 • 17/09

Britain’s oldest person reveals secret of longevity  

12:33 • 17/09

Arthur Abraham takes part in 45th BMW Berlin Marathon

12:02 • 17/09

Penelope Cruz dazzles in elegant one-shoulder gown as she joins husband Javier Bardem for LA screening of Loving Pablo

11:34 • 17/09

Armenian, Artsakh foreign ministers meet in Stepanakert

11:10 • 17/09

Turkey to increase troops in Turkish Cyprus

10:43 • 17/09

Elon Musk says Tesla now in 'delivery logistics hell'

10:14 • 17/09

Azerbaijan's armed forces open fire on Armenia’s south from Nakhicehvan

09:51 • 17/09

As Trump and Mattis clash in public, officials question how long he'll last at the Pentagon

09:37 • 17/09

It's not novichok, say police: 'Russian' couple fall ill at Salisbury restaurant with nerve-agent symptoms

09:15 • 17/09

New doubts emerge about US-led sanctions on North Korea

14:49 • 15/09

No more favoritism or privileged classes in Armenia - Pashinyan's interview with Le Monde

14:02 • 15/09

Kocharyan’s statements reflect level of his political understanding – Nikol Pashinyan

13:12 • 15/09

International Figure Skating Classic 2018: Armenia’s Slavik Hayrapetyan ranks fifth (video)

12:48 • 15/09

Erdogan travels to Baku  

12:07 • 15/09

Russian Orthodox church cuts ties with Constantinople over Ukraine

11:23 • 15/09

Zhamanak: Gyumri mayor 'to quit' over 'failure to work effectively' with Pashinyan's cabinet

10:49 • 15/09

Turkey demands release of 16-year-old boy held in Armenia

09:50 • 15/09

Jean-Claude Van Damme arrives in Armenia  

09:42 • 15/09

Nebraska doctor to face execution for killing four people

09:32 • 15/09

Azerbaijan shells border village in Armenia’s Tavush region

17:43 • 14/09

Jean-Claude Van Damme to visit Armenia

17:37 • 14/09

Apple criticized for new iPhones 'too big for women to hold'

16:27 • 14/09

French, Armenian leaders start working meeting in Paris

16:10 • 14/09

Armenian Genocide museum elects new director

15:26 • 14/09

Animals snapped enjoying surprise snowfall in South Africa

15:00 • 14/09

Armenian biker named double winner in Astana championship  

14:21 • 14/09

‘Velvet Revolution’ marked also revolution of values in Armenia – Nikol Pashinyan

12:49 • 14/09

Azerbaijan braces for military drills 'in response' to Armenia

12:05 • 14/09

Ucom to start pre-registration of iPhone XS and XS Max purchase

12:03 • 14/09

Amazon's Jeff Bezos commits $2 billion to help homeless, pre-schools

11:54 • 14/09

Hurricane Florence: Life threatening storm lashes US

11:09 • 14/09

Armenia 'important role-player' in global politics, prime minister says in France

10:01 • 14/09

US congressman raises call for Armenian Genocide recognition

09:31 • 14/09

Saroyan world premiere adds dates in Fresno and OC, announces encore L A performance

09:19 • 14/09

Gas explosions hit homes in Massachusetts

18:08 • 13/09

Mbappe better than Ronaldo, says De Vrij

17:42 • 13/09

We understand Armenian government’s desire to help compatriots in Syria - US Embassy

17:23 • 13/09

Meghan Markle pregnant? Bookies expecting baby announcement soon

17:06 • 13/09

US government encourages open labs in Armenia – embassy statement

16:36 • 13/09

Edward Nalbandian: Prime minister misleadingly accused former government of failure over Karabakh

15:01 • 13/09

Pashinyan vows to 'lock up' masterminds behind March 1 events  

14:09 • 13/09

Six killed in California shooting

13:55 • 13/09

Apple ends iPhone X and iPhoe SE sale

13:09 • 13/09

Trump signs order to punish US meddlers

12:55 • 13/09

Turkey to use national currency in property transactions

12:37 • 13/09

Pashinyan will regret messing with me – Robert Kocharyan

12:13 • 13/09

Pashinyan holds phone conversation with Kyrgyzstan's leader

11:11 • 13/09

Drake, Cardi B lead American Music Awards

10:52 • 13/09

Zhamanak: CSTO secretary general to step down over March 2008 coup charges

09:58 • 13/09

Putin to conduct official visit to Armenia - Russian paper

09:30 • 13/09

Turkey 'boosts arms to Syrian rebels' as Idlib attack looms

09:13 • 13/09

Apple unveils iPhone XS and fall-detecting watch