.: Press-releases

.: Complaints and appeals

.: Search on the site

.: Email



Home » Elections » Elections to the Milli Majlis » Elections to the Milli Majlis - 01.11.2015 » REPORT OF CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN - October 16 – November 24, 2015



REPORT OF CENTRAL ELECTION
COMMISSION OF THE REPUBLIC
OF AZERBAIJAN

Elections to the Milli Majlis – 2015
(October 16 – November 24, 2015)

Unofficial translation

www.msk.gov.az 
www.cec.gov.az
www.infocenter.gov.az

 



The Central Election Commission had implemented all the activities related with the preparation and conduct of the Elections to the Milli Majlis, appointed to November 1, 2015 in comply with the "Calendar Plan for the main activities and measures on the preparation and conduct of the fifth call Elections to the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan”.

In view of the Elections to the fifth call Milli Majlis to be conducted in 2015, the Central Election Commission started to prepare and implement many projects since the beginnings of the year and all the projects were carried out efficiently. The series of the projects included the update of voter lists, further improvement of working conditions and material and technical supply of lower election commissions, conduct of professional courses on election right and such other activities, awareness-raising of electoral stakeholders with various status, nomination and registration of candidates to deputy, ensuring equal opportunities for pre-election campaign and other issues (CEC report up to October 15, 2015 includes detailed information on that).

The large-scale and intensive activity of CEC was especially getting extensive during the period closer to elections. Thus, important election documents, i.e. ballot papers, carbonized official copies of Con.EC and PEC voting results protocol samples and samples considered for observers were published at the press and delivered to Con.ECs, from there to PECs upon providing inclusive opportunities for international (foreign) agency representatives and other interested subjects to participate. Meanwhile, lower election commissions had been supplied with invisible ink pots and ultraviolet lamps – the practice which had been applied since 2005 for marking voters’ thumbs who have participated in the voting.

CEC usually focused on the update and effective compilation of voters’ list upon considering their importance in the elections. The lists submitted by lower election commissions within the period defined by law were checked efficiently via the State Automated Information System before they had been approved by CEC. So, it was revealed that the names of 31316 voters, surnames of 20735 voters and patronymics of 32153 voters were questionable from the point of their compatibility with the orthography of the Azerbaijani language and the data was sent to Con.ECs for re-examination. After a thorough investigation was held on that, the data of the majority of those voters was defined to be accurate and the minor errors were eliminated immediately. 37045 voters with identical names, surnames, patronymics, dates of birth and gender were found out through the above-mentioned software of the SAIS and the information was also sent to Con.ECs to be re-examined and consequently, the data of those voters appeared to be de facto identical (they were determined with the help of ID cards). Furthermore, intermittent technical errors of voters’ dates of birth and gender and minor mistakes of addresses were also revealed and corrected without delay.

Like in previous elections, the implementation of wide-scale educational activities for a large number of election actors has always been one of the priority issues to the CEC and detailed information on these activities was covered in the report of October 15, 2015. Raising awareness of voters and other election participants had been implemented successively through different projects since the day of declaring the elections till the end of October.

The second stage which had been held customarily since 2002 to raise professionalism level of lower election commission members and started from October 7, 2015 regarding the Elections to the Milli Majlis of the current year lasted till the end of October in accordance with the number of the polling stations on election constituencies. During the trainings that involved the members of Con.ECs and PECs and conducted in small groups of 35-40 persons basing on the schedule submitted by the CEC Training Group, the participants were informed on the Election Day procedures including voting process, exceptional cases, vote counting, filling out protocols and the cases possible to be encountered on the voting day. The practice gained during previous elections was also discussed and participants were provided with the necessary recommendations.

Each PEC member was provided with "Election Day Guide”, protocol samples on the voting results and many other documents during the trainings carried out as one of the large-scale educational projects and in general, more than 32000 commission members participated at the trainings.

CEC especially focused on awareness-raising of the youth and first-time voters and to this end, carried out large-scale projects in the Elections to the Milli Majlis. On October 20, 2015 an event was implemented in Baku jointly by the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Central Election Commission, Ministry of Youth and Sports and Youth foundation under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The event aiming at raising the activity of the youth in the Elections to the Milli Majlis was attended by the chiefs and other representatives of youth organizations and civil society institutions. The incumbents of supreme state institutions made presentations on different spheres regarding the Elections to the Milli Majlis, the speeches were heard and the questions interesting to the participants were replied to within the frame of the project. It is worth noting that this event enlightened thoroughly by mass media played an important role in raising the activity of the youth and first-time voters and involving them to participate in the Elections to the Milli Majlis.

The following large-scale educational activity considered for the youth and first-time voters was held in Baku on October 21-23, 2015 within the frame of the joint project of CEC with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Baku city Youth and Sports Head Office. The first-time voters were informed thoroughly on the Elections to the Milli Majlis by the CEC representatives during the seminars held in different districts of the capital. Upon using visual aids, the participants were informed on the Election Day procedures including voting process, exceptional cases, vote counting, filling out protocols and the cases possible to be encountered on the voting day, the issues interesting to the first-time voters were clarified and the questions were replied to thoroughly during the practical workshops.

Another event organized by CEC was held on October 22-24, 2015 and it was aiming for the computer operators of Con.ECs to get necessary skills and knowledge with the purposes of using the State Automated Information System and relevant software properly which plays an important role in ensuring transparency of the processes on the Election Day. During the trainings lasted for three days, the computer operators were provided with practical information on the "Elections” Information System, its new improved opportunities, trained on the rules of usage visually and the issues interesting to them were clarified. The operators were facilitated to test the program modules at the trainings to transmit the information to CEC on the Election Day, thereby acquiring practical experience, which ensured easy use of the "Elections” Information System on the voting day.

The other project for the first-time voters was carried out jointly with the Knowledge Foundation under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. During the events implemented in different areas of Baku on October 23 and 27, 2015, CEC representative and other speakers made speeches on a number of subjects regarding the Elections to the Milli Majlis. The presentations made through visual aids informed the participants on the Elections to the Milli Majlis and E-day procedures thoroughly and their questions were responded.

On October 27, 2015, CEC and National Assembly of Youth Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan carried out a special educational program. Thus, informational tour to CEC on the Elections to the Milli Majlis was arranged under the bilateral cooperation of CEC with civil society institutions. The project aiming at awareness-raising of the youth regarding the Elections to the Milli Majlis was attended by the heads, also other representatives of the youth organizations. During the informational tour, the representatives of different structures under the CEC Secretariat informed the participants on the latest steps put for the preparations towards the Elections to the Milli Majlis and large-scale projects carried out and planned to be implemented for the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections. The heads and other representatives of the youth organizations were made familiar with the current activity of CEC concerning the Elections to the Milli Majlis on the spot at CEC technical supervision centre of webcams, the conference hall operating incessantly to transmit and publicize the Election Day information. The questions interesting to the participants were replied to thoroughly during the informational tour enlightened by media explicitly.

Let’s note that within the CEC education program of voters, 7 video and audio clips on different subjects regarding calling to the Elections to the Milli Majlis and active participation in the elections were prepared and broadcasted in TV and radio channels in the republic. Therewith, a video clip on the voting procedures in the Elections to the Milli Majlis was prepared, posted on the website and delivered to the public via the TV channels functioning within the republic as a joint project of CEC with the European Union.

Upon the initiative of CEC in the Elections to the Milli Majlis – November 1, 2015 special "First-time voter” greeting cards was prepared on behalf of CEC and during the voting, the cards were presented to 252 young people of age 18 who enjoyed active suffrage since that day to encourage them to participate in elections. It is also worth noting that a large number of large-scale projects implemented by CEC for the youth and first-time voters targeted the awareness-raising of 63553 first-time young voters whose entries had been included in voter lists on the republic alongside with all voters.

Citizens who intended to participate as candidates in the Elections to the Milli Majlis applied to Con.ECs after the elections have been announced and were provided with signature sheets upon the submission of necessary documents. To facilitate the nomination and registration procedures, also to avoid irregularities in the submitted documents, the citizens who intended to participate as candidates were submitted the blank forms to fill and return to the election commissions, the guidebook for candidates and the educational video co-prepared with the European Union included detailed information on the process. Con.ECs adopted relevant decisions on candidates’ registration upon investigating the submitted documents and consequently, 767 registered candidates to deputy were included in the ballot papers. 330 out of the candidates who had been included in the ballot papers were representatives of 24 political parties. In general, 287 of the registered candidates were nominated by 22 political parties and blocs of political parties and the others were nominated by voters’ initiative groups and on their own initiatives.

Lower election commissions led by CEC and other relevant bodies implemented all activities within their competence to provide pre-election campaign actors with legally defined opportunities to hold their campaign and equal pre-election campaign continued till 8.00 p.m. on October 31, 2015 to conduct free, fair and transparent elections in the country. Any considerable law violation was not observed in the campaign process held in quiet atmosphere in accordance with the Election Code. And CEC put all necessary steps effectively for the prevention of the confusions due to some minor problems upon responding without delay and the encountered cases were settled by Con.ECs.

Transparency of the process plays a significant role in the conduct of free and fair elections. In total,
65818 domestic observers were accredited to observe the fifth call Elections to the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan. 1225 out of 2619 local observers accredited by CEC to hold observation within the whole territory of the republic were representatives of political parties and blocs of political parties, 683 persons - 7 non-governmental organizations, 711 – by the initiatives of registered candidates and voters’ initiative groups, as well as, on their own initiatives. And another group of local observers were accredited by Con.ECs to observe within the territory of a certain election constituency. The number of those observers figured 63199, 29716 of whom participated in the observation by 22 political parties and political party blocs, 1436 persons – by 14 civil society institutions, 32047 persons – by the initiatives of registered candidates and voters’ initiative groups, as well as, on their own initiatives.

503 international observers representing 40 international organizations and 57 countries also took part in the observation process. Both local and international observers were provided with relevant badges. Furthermore, they were supplied with guidebooks and other necessary materials, also
with the Election Code, and "Guide for Observers” in English and Russian languages. Media representativesand international and foreign institutions in the republic, diplomatic corps and international observation missions were informed and invited to the CEC sessions and all the events organized by CEC.

As it is well-known, having occupied nearly 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan, Armenia strictly violates the constitutional rights and freedoms of the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan who had been displaced off their lands for more than 20 years by neglecting the resolutions and challenges of international organizations for the prevention of the aggression and peaceful resolution of the conflict. Notwithstanding all organizational difficulties, the rights of the citizens with election right of the Republic of Azerbaijan who had to leave their native lands as a result of occupation were guaranteed in the Elections to the Milli Majlis of the current year like in all elections and referendums held in the country so far.

Awareness-raising of the public has always played an important role for CEC. In the light of the elections, CEC had intensified the relations with mass media further during October-November. The activity of CEC had been fully open to media during those months like in all periods of the year to ensure transparency in the work of the Commission. They were informed on the CEC sessions in advance. Media representatives were invited to the CEC events and acquired necessary information regularly. CEC had been holding press conferences and briefings on the current issues from October 16, 2015 to raise public awareness on the preparation and conduct of the elections, delivered information on all the projects to be carried out in elections to the mass media functioning in the republic and published press releases and articles. 4 briefings of CEC Chairman had been hold for local and foreign media representatives from October 16 and 4 interviews were arranged to local and foreign TV channels. During the briefings Chairman informed on the latest activities implemented by CEC and final works towards the preparation and clarified the questions interesting to journalists. Therewith, 47 articles on the issues underlined by CEC Chairman at the Commission sessions, meetings with the heads and other officials of supreme election institutions of international organizations and foreign countries and 17 statements of Chairman were published in press.

It is worth noting that CEC Chairman met with the leading Russian media representatives on October 27, 2015. During the meeting CEC Chairman thoroughly informed on the election system, election legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the large-scale projects carried out to improve the election practice and also replied to the questions interesting to them.

A large number of articles on the sessions and activities held by the Commission had been published from October 16, 2015 up to officially finalizing the Elections to the Milli Majlis. Additionally, 46 presentations and 5 articles by the CEC members, as well as, officials of the Secretariat were issued by media. Electronic and print media allocated much space for the CEC sessions, the arranged activities and meetings. Different press releases, presentations and articles on the CEC activity, as well as, the CEC decisions and other legal and normative documents were published in "Azerbaijan” newspaper and posted on the CEC official website.

Educational program on Public TV continued its intensive activity since the beginning of September till the end of October upon the initiative of CEC and during the month CEC members and officials of the Secretariat made reports on TV and provided 56 interviews for TV. Before and on Election Day and the following day CEC Chairman held 4 briefings for media. Commission members and Secretariat officials provided 32 interviews via live connections to domestic and foreign mass media, also held 5 briefings for media representatives on Election Day CEC also provided free access for lower election commissions to take floor on media including the E-day. In their interviews, Con.EC chairpersons informed the public on the latest activities towards preparations undertaken by the election constituency, also the voting procedures and voter turnout on E-day.

42 international media representatives of 27 world-wide media outlets were also provided with relevant badges by CEC and enlightened the elections freely. And the representatives of local mass media functioning in the republic were able to monitor the election contest freely since the beginning till the end without any requirement of additional registration or document.

In general, either local or international observers or media representatives were facilitated to conduct their activity freely and independently during the preparations towards the elections, on the voting day and the post-election period.

"ELS” Independent Investigations Centre, Centre for the Protection of the Rights of Azerbaijan Youth (jointly with "Opinion Way” Sociological Research Institute (France)), Protection League of Labour Rights of Citizens (jointly with "AJF&Associates Inc.” (USA)) and "Rey” ("Opinion”) Monitoring Centre applied to CEC to conduct exit-poll in comply with the Election Code and all the applications were positively responded and the organizations were registered upon the discussion of the Commission members. The foregoing organizations held exit-poll on E-day and the results of the exit-poll almost coincided with the official results by CEC.

The process of using webcams which had been applied in the election history of Azerbaijan since 2008 and allowed to follow the voting process lively through internet outside the election precincts was also continued in these elections. Apart from all other means for ensuring transparency in elections, webcams were installed in 1000 (approximately to 20 %) polling stations which covered the whole territory of the country excluding the occupied areas. The issue on using webcams was considered at the CEC session and after a relevant decision has been adopted, the list of the polling stations with webcams was published and posted on the CEC official website.
On October 21, 2015 Chairman of the Central Election Commission and Minister of Communication and Informational Technologies visited the Centre for Technical Surveillance of Webcams, they familiarized themselves with the latest preparations of webcams and the readiness of the equipment. Internet users were able to monitor the voting process, vote counting and determination of results lively and incessantly through the webcams by the access to the CEC website either in the country or abroad. Nearly 200000 views were recorded via webcams from different countries and areas of the world and approximately, 70% of webcam views were within the country and 30% from abroad. Therewith, 60% of election monitoring through webcams were by computers, 40 % were by mobile phones and other devices.

The hotline # 115 functioning in regard with the election issues including voter lists and electronic hotlines had received 484 appeals from October 16, 2015 to November 24, 2015 and CEC put relevant steps upon responding to all the appeals timely. Mainly, the appeals concerned inquiries on checking the voters’ entries included in voter lists, corrections made in necessary cases, law-based issues and certain procedures. In the case when voters could not find their entries in voter lists, they applied to the Commission by filling out the electronic application form posted on the CEC website or through the e-mails of the structural units and such appeals were checked with local commissions and relevant measures were undertaken. The appeals of the citizens who had applied to hotlines concerning other issues were also replied to thoroughly.

CEC undertook all necessary measures for the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections and informed the public on the election process regularly. On October 16-November 24, 2015 regarding the Elections to the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on November 1, 2015, the Central Election Commission conducted 19 sessions and generally, 96 decisions were adopted at those sessions. Decisions mainly embodied the usage of webcams in the polling stations, registration of the organizations intending to hold "exit-poll”, investigation of the appeals filed to CEC, determination of the results of examining the Con.EC protocols and the attachment documents and compilation of final protocols on the voting results, approval of the protocol of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan on general election results and submitting the Con.EC protocols and attached documents to the Constitutional Court to approve the CEC protocol upon examining the election results, making amendment to the structures of some Con.ECs and approval of the session minutes of CEC.

As usual, CEC focused on the cooperation with international and foreign organizations also in the Elections to the Milli Majlis. Different projects and meetings were implemented and opportunities of future partnership were regularly discussed in the frame of this cooperation. Considering the interest of international (foreign) organizations in the elections held in the country, a number of meetings had been conducted since the beginning of the year. Since October 16, 2015 meetings of Chairman of the Central Election Commission were held with the members of observation mission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, observation mission of CIS Parliamentary Assembly, the delegation of Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-speaking countries, CIS election observation mission and the delegation of Turkish Council, delegations of Austrian Parliament, representatives of the Marmara Group Strategic and Social Research Foundation, chairmen of Central Election Commissions of Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus, as well as, CEC delegations of Romania, Ukraine, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and other delegates, during the meetings experiences on election-related topics were shared and the perspectives of partnership in the fields of mutual interest were discussed. Furthermore, other representatives of CEC also conducted meetings with the delegates of international organizations.

Regarding the Elections to the Milli Majlis, the format and number of ballot papers were approved by CEC and their printing started after candidates’ registration stage on October 14, 2015, thus in general, 5344431 ballot papers were printed within the period and manner defined by law under the inclusive atmosphere accessible for the representatives of international and foreign organizations, also mass media and starting from October 22, 2015 they had been distributed together with Con.EC and PEC final protocols to Con.ECs and from Con.ECs to PECs. Therewith, the samples of final protocols were provided to PECs – 30 copies to each of them to present to observers and other interested subjects.

The guarantee of secret voting has always been focused on. Special stencils were also prepared and distributed to all the PECs prior to the voting day in current elections by keeping adhere to the tradition of CEC which has been formed since 2003 for ensuring the secret voting of the visually disabled people. Furthermore, 999 mobile ramps were installed for the physically disabled voters to come to polling stations freely and thus, making all the polling stations suitable for them. The mobile ramps also facilitated the people with wheelchair to come to the polling station.

The voting on the whole country was opened at 8.00 a.m. and voters went to the polling stations to express their will freely on the Election Day – November 1, 2015. The information on voters’ turnout was transmitted to CEC via special software through the State Automated Information System and posted on the website on the E-day five times – at 10.00, 12.00, 15.00, 17.00 and 19.00. TV channels functioning in the country broadcasted live interviews and news to publicize the activity of CEC and lower election commissions and took active part in the processing of the information submitted to CEC. Since 8.00 p.m. after closing the polling stations, votes were being counted incessantly and after the counting process has ended, the preliminary information on the voting results from all precincts in the country was directly transmitted to the CEC website through the SAIS special software and delivered to all local and international community. Representatives of local and foreign mass media were provided with all the facilities to join the live airtime to inform the public on election results via direct broadcast from the CEC Conference Hall. Preliminary voting results on 5047 out of 5547 polling stations in the country, i.e. 91% of election precincts was being delivered to the public by CEC Chairman within 5 hours after the voting has ended. The protocol data on all polling stations was posted on the CEC website without delay in the first half of the next day and the stage of publication the preliminary information ended.

Final voting results protocols and other election documents were delivered by PECs to Con.ECs and from Con.ECs to CEC within the time period defined by law.

On Election Day any official complaint was not filed to the Central Election Commission. In total, nearly 150 inquiries were addressed to the hotline # 115 and electronic hotlines.

Pursuant to the Election Code and Instruction "On the rules for submitting and consideration of appeals and complaints on the violation of election right filed to the Central Election Commission and Constituency Election Commissions”, prepared jointly by Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, the appeals and complaints submitted to the Commission were investigated by the Expert Group composed of 9 persons and relevant decisions were adopted upon the discussion by the CEC. The appeals were investigated in a more detailed and effective manner by the way of the foregoing procedures.

All the election-related appeals were immediately put in the session and discussed by the Commission members with the participation of the plaintiffs and other interested subjects upon inclusive and fair investigation and relevant decisions were adopted to ensure citizens’ election rights. Generally, 6 out of 19 appeals filed to CEC from October 16, 2015 up to E-day concerned the candidate registration. One of those appeals was substantiated in the process of examination and the candidacy of one more person was registered by the Commission decision. The other 13 appeals were relevantly decided upon.

After Election Day 46 appeals were filed by totally 36 - ¼ of the election constituencies in the republic, all the appeals were investigated in comply with legislation and the necessary steps were put forward, and as a result, the voting results on one election constituency and 45 polling stations were regarded as invalid.

It is worth noting that detailed investigation was conducted on each complaint and the members of the Expert Group considering the complaints undertook necessary activities to meet with witnesses and inspect the reported incidents, informed the Commission on the conclusions, and final decisions were adopted on the complaints upon the voting of the commission members. Relevant steps were undertaken to ensure the participation of the complainants who wished to take part in the investigation process and at the CEC session. The activity of the Expert Group was open to the plaintiffs, observers and other interested actors, they were regularly informed on the investigation and invited to follow the process. During the sessions of the Commission, CEC Chairman invited the plaintiffs, observers and other interested persons regularly to take part in the investigation. As an additional means to ensure transparency in the investigation process of appeals and complaints, registration number, date and time of submission of all the appeals and complaints, complainant and the subject of the complaint, member of the CEC Expert Group who examines the complaint and their opinion on the investigation, as well as, relevant CEC decision on the complaint were posted on the CEC official website timely. And all these procedures allowed citizens free access to fast information on the investigation and review of their appeals and complaints at the Commission and adopted decisions on them upon ensuring effective investigation of citizens’ appeals.

On November 18, 2015, the works towards the determination of general results of the Elections to the Milli Majlis were finalized and final protocol of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan on general election results was compiled and approved by the signatures of the Commission members.

Notably, the voting results on one election constituency and some polling stations were invalidated and relevant measures were undertaken by CEC as a result of examination of the voting results on election constituencies and investigating the filed complaints. Therewith, the voting results of some polling stations were annulled by Con.ECs during the investigation of the complaints by Con.ECs.

Pursuant to the Election Code, the CEC Protocol on general results of the Elections to the Milli Majlis together with the relevant documents was submitted to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the election results to be approved by the decision of the Commission. The results of the Elections to the fifth call Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on November 1, 2015 were officially approved at the session of the Plenum of the Constitutional Court on November 24, 2015.

All election-related information was posted on the CEC website (www.msk.gov.az, www.cec.gov.az, www.infocenter.gov.az) on regular basis. The Constitution, the Election Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as, all instructions, rules, comments and decisions adopted by CEC (posted immediately after the sessions of the Commission) were available in Azerbaijani and English on the website. Information on the CEC activity and previous elections, opinions provided by the members of Expert Group regarding the submitted appeals and complaints and relevant CEC decisions and press releases on the sessions had been posted on the website in Azerbaijani and English. Furthermore, addresses of election constituencies and precincts, voters’ search system, voters’ visit to the polling stations with the help of specific navigation software, information on the registered candidates, as well as, preliminary information on voter turnout on election constituencies and winning candidates, protocol data of election constituencies and precincts, structures, addresses and contacts of election constituencies, addresses and maps of election precincts, voters’ lists, information on pre-election campaign, press releases and other information of great public interest were posted on the CEC website.

The regularly updated website with all the necessary information on elections had been accessible for users in the whole election process. The users were able to get information from the website. Furthermore, electronic services for voters in 10 different fields were integrated in the Electronic government portal besides the CEC website and were at the disposal of voters and other interested persons. It is worth noting that the CEC website had been viewed by more than
975000users from October 16 to November 24, 2015. Only on E-day this number reached 260000.

CEC reports were posted on the official website of the Commission in Azerbaijani and English languages.