The Azerbaijan State News Agency

POLITICS

STATEMENT OF INTERNATIONAL MONITORS OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES ON RESULTS OF MONITORING THE ELECTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN

We, international monitors of the Commonwealth in Independent States participated in monitoring the preparatory work and holding of he Presidential Elections in Azerbaijan. We fulfilled the monitoring of campaigning at the invitation of the Republic of Azerbaijan according to the resolution of the CIS heads council of May 30, 2003 on sending CIS monitors to the elections of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Over 150 observers from the commonwealth countries were taking part in monitoring the process of preparation and holding Presidential elections. In our activities we were led by the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Election Code of Azerbaijan, Instruction on rules of foreign monitors at the Presidential elections of the Republic of Azerbaijan, confirmed by the resolution of the Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan, Convention on democratic elections standards, election rights and freedoms in the CIS member-states, adopted by the CIS heads council, took into account the recommendations for international monitors of the Commonwealth of Independent States on monitoring the elections, adopted by the Inter-parliamentary Assembly of CIS member-states.

While fulfilling the monitoring function of Presidential Elections, we were given an opportunity to study documents regulating election process, to get necessary information from election organs, fulfill contacts with political parties, Presidential nominees, to visit freely polling stations and premises for voting.

We were performing our activities openly, freely and independently, observing laws of Azerbaijan, led by principles of political neutrality, equity, non-interference into election process, refusal of expressing of any preferences or appraisals of political parties, blocks and Presidential contenders, acting in election campaign.

We have become eyewitnesses of big preparatory work carried out by the Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan and subordinate election commissions on organization of Presidential elections.

On the day of the elections on October 15, 2003, we visited 1103 polling stations and monitored the course of voting, calculation of votes and their results at polling stations and district election commissions. We believe, the foreseen numbering of all ballots, putting them into special envelopes, usage of transparent ballot boxes, big number of local and international monitors, creation of conditions for them, providing comprehension of calculation procedure - all these promoted transparency of election process.

We are making our appraisals basing our own monitoring and the analysis of factual material, summarizing the information, got in the result of constructive interactions with, monitors from other international organizations.

The analysis of monitoring results over the process of preparation and holding the Presidential Elections of the Republic of Azerbaijan gives grounds to make the following conclusions.

Election law of the Republic of Azerbaijan completely corresponds to the approaches of the organization and holding of democratic elections. The new Election Code of Azerbaijan, which underwent examination of a number of international organizations, provides legislative basis for fair, transparent and democratic elections and gives a chance to the citizens of the country to realize their right to elect and be elected freely.

The elections were held on principles of alternativeness and in the situation of competition between the nominees. Some 12 nominees were registered by the Central Election Commission. Four out of them used their right to withdraw their candidacy, three of them - in favor of other nominees; eight contenders remained at the final stage of election process.

The forms and methods of campaigning were mainly held within the frames of legal and ethic space.

Nevertheless, we have revealed some violations of the law by some election commissions, representatives of some parties in the course of campaigning, voting and calculating the results.

Not all agitation materials of the nominees (placards, leaflets) had necessary outgoing data, fixed by the Election Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

At the polling stations, there were facts of non-qualitative voter registers, because of which a part of voters had to apply to courts for including them into the reregister. Up to few hundreds of voters applied to some courts (for example, in Sumgait) on this issue.

There were queues at some polling stations and it caused some difficulties fro voting.

However, the violations fixed by the mission were not of mass character and at the end did not influence much free voting.

We international monitors of the Commonwealth of Independent States believe that the elections of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on October 15, 2003 have been held by election commission according to the national election legislature, acknowledge these elections as free, democratic and open.

We point out constructive interactions during monitoring of Presidential elections in Azerbaijan with political parties, national organs of authorities and management with international organizations. We were created the conditions for publication of our opinion on preparation and holding the elections.

We call other international monitors, sharing its items to join our Statement.

A detailed report on CIS mission’s activities on monitoring preparation and holding the elections of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan will be submitted to the CIS heads council according to the rules and procedures adopted by the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Next speaker, Konstantin Markelov noted that his group included representatives of the CIS nine countries parliaments including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Moldova, Georgia ans Khirgyzstan. Deputies of the parliaments have worked in PACE and OSCE missions, which they were holding regular consultations with. During the elections, the group members met with the main presidential candidates, held meeting with citizens in the polling stations. On October 15, they visited eight districts, were present at the opening of the stations and while calculating of votes.

“We completely agree with the statement’s conclusions and believe the election commission took a serious approach to the elections creating all necessary conditions for them to be held”, Konstantin Markelov said. Many observers representing inter-parliamentary Assembly pointed out that Azerbaijan had considerably democratized its election code. Transparent ballot-boxes, envelopes, numbered voting papers and opportunity for the process participants to be present during voting and calculation of the votes. “All the factors indicate that the elections held in Azerbaijan meet the country’s legislation and conception of democratic elections, rights and freedoms of the citizens adopted by the inter-parliamentary Assembly of the CIS member states”, K. Markelov stated.

According to Vladimir Butayev, his mission consisted of the representatives of CIS countries’ central election commissions, who were working in then districts. They conducted meetings with the representatives of the opposition parties. Comparing these elections with those in other countries he said: “festive mood, music and flowers could be observed in all the polling stations we had been present. It gave us great pleasure as the atmosphere like this evokes respect to the citizens of this county. It must be especially noted that unlike other countries, guides to the election process were available in the polling station in Azerbaijan.”

V. Butyev also stated that in the polling station N11 of the election district N81, representative of the opposition party “Musavat” hampered CIS international observation. He even made a threat to the CIS observers. Only protection of OSCE representative damped the oppositionists’ heat.

Georgiy Tikhonov led the group of CIS member states observers, told the press-conference that during the visits of the polling stations, they witnessed that all representatives of the presidential candidates shared the opinion that the voting is frank and democratic.

“Keeping in mind that Azerbaijan is a multinational state, and that representatives of different nationalities participated in the voting, no case of violation of these citizens’ rights have been established”, he stated.

Responding to journalist’s question on some opposition parties’ statement on alleged falsifications during calculating of votes, Yuriy Yarov noted in all the stations where CIS observers had been present, absolute fair counting of votes was observed. In one of the polling stations, we asked representative of the Musavat party, and he said they do not have questions.“

Later, Yuriy Yarov noted that the opposition should be unbiased and act in accordance with the law, they have to recognize that one of the candidates have won necessary, constitutional and legal majority in the elections. This is the people’s will”, stated Yuriy Yarov.

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