On interim report of OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission regarding the Presidential Elections in the Republic of Azerbaijan to be held on October 9, 2013


of OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission regarding the Presidential
Elections in the Republic of Azerbaijan to be held on October 9, 2013

Interim Report No.1 of OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission has been recently issued.

The report includes a lot of opinions on the elections procedures. With respect to this, we would like to inform you on the followings:

As to the absence of female candidates among nominees, we want to note that gender equality is implied by Article 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Women are fully represented in the Parliament and both in Azerbaijan Government and court system. Women have been facilitated to implement their passive voting rights also in these elections. The fact that women do not use this opportunity noted in the report is at least inexplicable.By the way, there are many European countries which have never had female presidents.

As to claims that the recommendations made by OSCE/ODIHR have not been taken into consideration in amendments following the 2010 parliamentary elections, I would state that 12 of 17 recommendations given in 2010 (excluding reducing the period for consideration of complaints) were adopted.

Information on this was forwarded to OSCE/ODIHR Director Janes Lenarcic by the CEC Chairman on August 12, 2013.

I would inform on the formulation of election commissions that in the election history of Azerbaijan, election commissions were formed on the basis of parity representation of opposition and government parties in the Parliament in 2000 in strict comply with OSCE/ODIHR recommendations. The present opposition parties has used this parity for boycotting the activity of CEC. CEC members could not adopt relevant decisions within the periods defined by Law due to the lack of quorum required by Law thus paralyzing the work of the Central Election Commission.

Despite the letter of the ODIHR Director then Gerard Studman to opposition leaders calling them to show a constructive position, the boycott continued and a danger of violation of terms emerged. The formula of formation of election commissions was later improved by Milli Majlis.

As for the statement on government control over all television channels, we would like to remind the election observation mission that in Azerbaijan there is one state channel, one public channel and 33 private channels (five countrywide, 14 regional and 14 cable channels). We would like to receive available evidence giving the basis to the conclusion or laws providing this opportunity".

This position also refers to characterizing the legislation and its current implementation by the coordinators of OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission as an obstacle for NGOs’ ability to observe the election process.

We would like to note that in the election process, de-registration cards should be considered effective means to ensure the suffrage of voters. To this end, the CEC has created broad opportunities for voters by issuing registration cards in the amount indicated in the report. The fact that during the release of the report the number of voters receiving the cards was low should not be accepted as a final indicator. This process continues until three days are left prior to the elections, and in the end, unused registration cards are officially cancelled under the observation in accordance with the legislation.

Misunderstandings causing surprise in the Interim Report of OSCE/ODIHR create impression of necessity to build the activity (including observation on the Election Day) of the election observation mission in this direction more transparently. We think that considering the frequently voiced public opinions that the observers should post their opinion about the Election Day on the OSCE website individually right after the elections would be useful in terms of increasing public confidence in the mission's activity.

Central Election Commission
of the Republic of Azerbaijan