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Weekly political digest

Politics Materials 16 October 2008 12:04 (UTC +04:00)

Official Chronicle

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has received Peter Semneby, the European Union`s Special Representative for the South Caucasus.

President and Peter Semneby have discussed the pre-election situation in the country and development of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and EU.

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has sent a letter of condolence to Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev over the quake in the Osh province that claimed many human lives. The Head of State presented his condolence to his Kyrgyz counterpart, the relatives and friends of the dead, and wished speedy recovery to the injured.

On 6 October, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, received delegates of the Fourth session of Islamic conference of the ministers of higher education and scientific research hosted in Baku.

Speaking of importance of the Baku Conference, the Head of State noted that the action serves strengthening of solidarity among the participant countries. The sphere of education is always in focus of the state of Azerbaijan and education is in the second place on volume of assignments from the state budget. їBy growth of economic development this field will be allotted more in the years ahead,ї the President stressed.

Noting that though 20 percent of the country`s territories are under occupation and there are one million refugees and IDPs, the government is building modern schools for them in the refugee settlements, President Aliyev said.

The President also stressed necessity of computerization of the secondary schools and briefed on the works done in this field in Azerbaijan. He also informed about education of the Azerbaijani youth abroad, underlining that їeducation is one of the properties in the republic.ї Organizing the conference in Baku is important, Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, Director General of ISESCO, said. їThe Islamic countries, in particular, ISESCO is aware of the economic growth in Azerbaijan and we are pleased with the accomplishments gained in this Islamic country.ї He noted successful policy of education pursued by Azerbaijan government.

On 6 October, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed an executive order endorsing the State Program on Development of Library and Information Field in 2008- 2013 in the Azerbaijan Republic. This program aims to improve the work of libraries, provide the society with more information and help Azerbaijani libraries join the world information network.

On 7 October, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev participated in the opening ceremony of a lyceum in Bilasuvar region.

President got acquainted with the complex. He said such up-to-date complexes demonstrate the attention and care for educational development in the country, adding that there are all conditions for the young generation to be literate and to master all sciences.

Opening of a new Olympic Sport Complex took place in Bilasuvar on 7 October.

Participants of the opening ceremony sincerely met President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva.

Head of State cut a ribbon indicating opening of the Complex.

The Complex, which covers 6.5h of area, was built in February 2007 and its construction finished in September 2008. Averagely 100 people worked during the construction a month and their salaries amounted to AZN 350-400.

The Complex includes main sport hall, whose stands contain 910 people, 25-m swimming pool, small and large gyms and training halls with modern sport equipments, chess room, table tennis and subsidiary rooms.

Fifty-room hotel and two-stored cottage were built in area of the Complex, which includes 100-people canteen, as well.

On 7 October, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, participated in the opening of the Masalli branch of the Scientific Research Institute of Eye Diseases named after Academician Zarifa Aliyeva.The total area of the new medical institution, located in the center of Masalli city in Zarifa Aliyeva Street, is 850 sq.m. The bust of known ophthalmologist was set in the hall of building is set.

Cutting the symbolic ribbon, Head of State said that soon there will be such excellent conditions in the Baku hospitals as well. The President of Azerbaijan said that the basic work in the medical institution will consist of training of local doctors.

President Ilham Aliyev took part in opening of new administrative building of Janub TV (South TV), which functions in Lankaran City, south Azerbaijan (270km of Baku), on 8 October within the framework of his tour of the Azerbaijani south regions.

Head of State got familiarization with work regime at the Janub TV building, after cutting a red ribbon. The President positively assessed development of regional TV channels in Azerbaijan and recommended to hold training to improve regional journalists' professionalism.

The new 3-storey administrative building of the Janub TV has shooting ground, which is located in 720km-area, new studios and editing rooms.

Janub TV functions since 31 December in 2007 and is aired in 12 regions. A total of 50% of TV programs of the channel, broadcasted during 18 hours, are local programs.

On 9 October, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received Minister for Trade and Development of Finland, Paolo Vayrynen.

Vayrynen informed President of meetings he held with government officials.

Azerbaijan is interested in development of bilateral cooperation with Finland, the President said. President noted importance of holding Azerbaijani-Finnish business forum.

On 9 October the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, inaugurated the new building of the National Archives of the Azerbaijan Republic in Baku.

Deputy Prime Minister Abid Sharifov and the Chairman National Archives, Atakhan Pashayev, informed the President of the restoration works and capital repair of archive complex that meets contemporary standards, on which AZN 15.9mln was spent.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev participated in opening ceremony of Gala (Castle) Archeological and Ethnographic Museum Complex  nearby Baku on 10 October.

A new project, which was realized at initiative of MP Mehriban Aliyeva, the President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, will serve to preserving history of Azerbaijan, as well as to turn Azerbaijan into one of tourism centers. Head of State and First Lady closely got familiarization with the museum complex.

Then the President met with residents of settlement. He stressed importance of establishment of the museum complex, which exhibits ancient historical monuments of Gala settlement and spoke about recent care of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation for protection of historical monuments and cultural heritage.

On 9 October the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed an order on establishment of Day of Workers of Agriculture. According to the order, taking into consideration the importance of agriculture in the development of the economy of Azerbaijan and highly evaluating the labor of the workers of agriculture, 1 November of each year will be marked Day of Agricultureї.

But the order, signed by the President of Azerbaijan on 9 October, envisages making additions and changes to the edict №706 on Honorable Titles of Azerbaijan Republic dated 22 May 1998 in order to estimate the labor of those, who achieved great successes in the development of agriculture.

On 9 October the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, inaugurated the new building of the National Archives of the Azerbaijan Republic in Baku.

Deputy Prime Minister Abid Sharifov and the Chairman National Archives, Atakhan Pashayev, informed the President of the restoration works and capital repair of archive complex that meets contemporary standards, on which AZN 15.9mln was spent.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received the head of Polish Presidential Administrationїs National Security Office Vladislav Stasiakin on 10 October.

Enhancement of bilateral relations, mutual visits, successful development in many fields between Azerbaijan and Poland was discussed at the meeting.

A new building of the kindergarten No 63 was put into use in Gala settlement in Baku.  

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev accompanied by First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva attended the opening ceremony of the building.

Initiated by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, a new building meeting modern standards was constructed for the kindergarten.  

The President and his spouse cut the ribbon symbolizing official opening of the building and got familiarized with it.

A new hospital was put into use in Gala settlement in Baku.  

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva have today attended the inauguration of the hospital.

Initiated by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the hospital contains urgent aid station and chemistїs shop. The new medical institution was provided with modern technical equipment.   

The President and his spouse got familiarized with the cars of urgent medical aid. 

The cars contain equipment for the resuscitative measures, the electrocardiograph, oxygenerator, equipment for determining the level of sugar in the blood, 90 forms of drugs and surgical dressings.

Elections

The Presidential elections in Azerbaijan will be held on 15 October. A total of seven candidates will take part in the elections including Ilham Aliyev, chairman of Ruling New Azerbaijan Party, Igbal Agazade, chairman of opposition Umid (Hope) Party, Fazil Gazanfaroglu, chairman of Great Establishment Party, Gudrat Hasanguliyev, chairman of Unified Popular Front Party, Hafiz Hajiyev, chairman of Muasir Musavat Party, Fuad Aliyev, chairman of Liberal Democrat Party and independent candidate Gulamhuseyn Alibayli..

The All-Russian Azerbaijanis Congress held action in Moscow in connection with the presidential lections to be held in Azerbaijan.

Mammad Aliyev, the President of the congress, made a report on work, which he did to provide the Azerbaijani Diaspora's active participation in the presidential elections, in the action, the State Committee for Azerbaijanis Living Abroad told Trend on 6 October.

"Leaders of the Congress's regional organizations expressed their readiness actively to participate in the presidential elections," Aliyev said.

An address on the participation in the elections was adopted at the action. The address comprises Ilham Aliyev's contributions comprehensively to develop Azerbaijan and increase its authority in the international arena, as well as to strengthen the Azerbaijan-Russian relations and work done to protect rights of Azerbaijanis living in Russia, to solve their problems, to organize the Azerbaijani Diaspora in Russia and to enter higher quality stage.

The Presidium of the All-Russian Azerbaijanis Congress expresses support of 2mln-Azerbaijani Diaspora in Russia to Ilham Aliyev's candidature and urges all Azerbaijani citizens, who live, work and study in Russia, actively to participate in the elections, the document reports.

OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (BDIPC) has publicized second report on pre-election situation in Azerbaijan.

Official campaign prior to presidential elections began on 17 September. The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Azerbaijan continues active preparations for elections and holds separate meetings, said a report publicized by BDIPC on 6 October.

Filling vacancies in Constituency Election Commissions and Precinct Election Commissions is still going on, said the report by the long-term observers of OSCE.

At early September, parties included in Azadlig bloc the (the Popular Front Party, the Liberal Party and the Citizen and Development), the Musavat Party and the Public Forum 'For Azerbaijan'  signed a joint statement on recognition of the presidential elections to be held on 15 October as illegitimate. Government to be formed after the presidential elections, are announced as illegitimate in the statement.

BDIPC describes pre-election situation in Azerbaijan as calm. "Calmness dominates in the country. New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) carries out active election campaign for its candidate, current President Ilham Aliyev," report said.

BDIPC describes little interest of public in presidential elections as a lack of competition.

Other candidates also hold election campaigns, but rather restrained, BDIPC said.

BDIPC expressed concern over the fact that Precinct Election Commission have not yet been provide with web cameras.

Surveillance cameras will be installed in Precinct Election Commission on day of presidential elections to observe voting, Mazahir Panahov, chairman of CEC said earlier.

CEC chairman said cameras will cover 10% of election Precinct Election Commission. All processes from preparations of elections commissions for voting to sending protocols to Constituency Election Commissions will be observed by camera. The cameras will be connected to internet to secure an opportunity to observe elections all over the world.

The Council of Europe is dissatisfied with the media coverage of the pre-election situation in Azerbaijan.

Council of Europe's expert David Vard highlights passivity of the Azerbaijani media in the pre-election situation.

Presidential elections in Azerbaijan will take place on 15 October.

On the eve of the Presidential elections, the Azerbaijani media demonstrates considerable passivity in highlighting pre-election campaign, the expert said to press-conference in Baku on 6 October.

It is testified by the monitoring of media, which was held by the experts of the Council of Europe in September. The monitoring revealed that of the Azerbaijani televisions, ANS and Public Television mostly highlights the elections. AZTV and LIDER and other televisions highlights in less time or provide unilateral information, the expert said.

Vard said that the governmental organizations are oriented to highlight the campaign of only candidate from the ruling party, the opposition newspapers criticize the government, but not highlight the elections. The monitoring revealed that the elections are most actively highlighted by the independent newspapers.

The Council of Europe experts did not hold monitoring of news agencies because they consider the audience of televisions and newspapers is wider.

Leaders of four Azerbaijani opposition organizations met with Peter Semneby, the European Union (EU) Special Envoy for South Caucasus.

їA delegation headed by Semneby took interest in state of opposition concerning the presidential elections. We spoke about some problems in the pre-election period and said that the authorities did not prevent to hold pre-election propaganda campaign,ї Fazil Gazanfaroglu, a presidential candidate and the chairman of the opposition Great Establishment Party (GEP), told Trend on 6 October.

Besides Gazanfaroglu, Eldar Namazov, the President of the Public Forum of For Azerbaijan, Ali Karimli, the chairman of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA), and Anvar Agayev, the deputy chairman of the Umid (Hope) Party for ideological issues, took part in the meeting.

According to the chairman of the GEP, televisions prefer propaganda of the authoritiesї candidate: їHowever, we said that generally propaganda campaign is being held in line with legislation,ї Gazanfaroglu said.

Central Election Commission (CEC) of Azerbaijan has registered 924 international observers for upcoming presidential elections.

"The registered observers represent 18 international organizations and 48 countries. Great part of observers account for OSCE, CIS and Council of Europe," Rovzat Gasimov, spokesman for CEC said to Trend .

The registration of observers by CEC was completed 10 days before the voting. It will end in five days in Constituency Election Commissions.

Gasimov said the deadline for submitting applications to CEC is over. "Documents submitted by international observers earlier are being studied. The number of observers is expected to grow," he said.

The Supreme Majlis of the Azerbaijani opposition Open Society Party (OSP), whose leader is the ex-speaker of Azerbaijan Rasul Guliyev, made a decision to support the current President Ilham Aliyev, the presidential candidate of the ruling party, on 8 October, Vagif Mahmudov, the speaker of the OSP Supreme Majlis, told Trend on 8 October.

Solmaz Alasgarova, a consultant of the OSP chairman, and Ogtay Mirzayev, the vice-speaker of the Supreme Majlis, resigned blaming the party for inactivity.

A total of 68 people of 72 members of the Majlis participated in the meeting held at the headquarters of the Classical Popular Front Party, Mahmudov said. "Open voting was held to support the current President Ilham Aliyev's candidature in the upcoming presidential elections. Although two members were against this decision, the rest members of Majlis unanimously supported the decision, which was made at the Executive Body of the party on 4 October," Mahmudov said.

The limitations in the freedom of assembly were not observed during the pre-election agitation campaign in Azerbaijan.

"Some 505 meetings have been held for the agitation of the candidates over the period from 17 September to 7 October and no serious obstacles were presented for the freedom of assembly," expert Alimammad Nuriyev said to the press-press conference at the international press center of Trend Agency on 8 October.   

Nuriyev said that the presidential candidates held meetings mainly in closed places. "All meetings took place in the places allocated by the Executive Powers. Only the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) has held a meeting in Bibiheybat for the agitation of presidential candidate Ilham Aliyev," he said. 

The expert said that the action arranged by the Co-operation Center of Opposition representing the parties boycotting elections did not take place.  

He said that Unified Azerbaijan Popular Front Party, Great Establishment Party and Muasir Musavat Party appealed for the Baku City Executive Power to hold meetings in front of the Tabriz cinema on 13 and 11 October. 

"The NAP has mostly held meetings during the agitation campaign. The ruling party has held 451 meetings attended by 371 people. Gudrat Hasanguliyev has held five meetings. The presidential candidates, Chairman of Umid Party Sardar Jalaloglu and Chairman of Azerbaijan Liberal Democrat Party Fuad Aliyev voluntarily refused to hold mass meetings. They prefer to online propaganda in media," the expert said.   

Azerbaijani Embassies abroad prepare for the upcoming presidential elections.

Azerbaijan will host the presidential elections on 15 october.

Two election districts are established in Kazakhstan - under Azerbaijani Embassy in Astana and country's general counsel in Aktau, Latif Gandilov, Azerbaijani Ambassador in Kazakhstan, told Trend via a telephone from Astana. All Azerbaijani citizens, who have rights for vote, are informed of the process by Kazakh media, the Azerbaijani Ambassador said.

One election district, where 700 people were registered, was opened in Azerbaijan's Embassy in Ukraine.

Under the Azerbaijani Election Code, the countries with over 50 Azerbaijani citizens, election districts are opened during presidential elections.

One election district under the Azerbaijani Embassy will be opened in Latvia. Seventy electorates are registered in the district.

"Totally 33 Azerbaijani Embassies opened their election districts. The districts were provided with all the necessary equipment," Rovzat Gasimov, head of the Central Election Commission Foreign Affairs Department, told Trend .

Over 10,000 Azerbaijani electorates are expected to vote in election districts opened under Azerbaijani Embassies in the United States, Russia, Iran, Turkey and some European countries.

Ali Nagiyev, Azerbaijani Ambassador in Belorussia, said earlier that election districts would be opened in Minsk for Azerbaijanis in this country on 15 October.

Election districts will function from 9:00a.m to 6:00p.m in Azerbaijan's Embassy in Belorussia.

About 1,000 Azerbaijanis are expected to participate in the elections in Minsk. Totally there are 15,000 Azerbaijanis live in Belorussia.

The Azerbaijanis residing in Georgia will support in the presidential elections the candidate from the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP), current State Head Ilham Aliyev, mentioned in the statement made by the Culture Center of the Georgian Azerbaijanis on behalf of the Azerbaijanis residing in this country. 

The authors of the statement called upon all Azerbaijanis connecting their activities with Georgia to joint this support. "We believe that Ilham Aliyev will be re-elected the President and will work for prosperity of Azerbaijan, development of the Azerbaijani-Georgian relations which seriously influence on the stability in the region and generally in South Caucasus," then statement says.

According to unofficial information, nearly 500,000 Azerbaijanis reside in Georgia, especially in the region of Kvemo-Kartli (Borchali).

The pro-governmental Social Welfare Party of Azerbaijan (SWPA) appointed 5,000 observers to watchdog the presidential elections. Observers were registered in the Central Election Commission (CEC) and different elctions districts.

MP Khanhuseyn Kazimli is the chairman of SWPA. Party will support the candidature from the governing New Azerbaijan Party and the incumbent President Ilham Aliyev.

At a meeting the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Azerbaijan approved the rules of the installation of cameras in the polling stations. The CEC Secretary, Natig Mammadov, said that the question of the installation of cameras found its reflection in the Electoral Code. їThe rules of installing cameras were prepared by the experts of international organizations ї Venice Commission together with IFES. The goal is to to ensure openness, transparency and control over voters,ї said Mammadov.

He said that the Ministry of Communications & Information Technologies will establish cameras in 500 polling stations, and control will be made by the CEC. їThe cameras will cover 10% of general polling stations. The conditions in the station will be considered during the establishment of cameras. But the most basic, they will be established in the stations with large number of voters,ї added Mammadov.

According to the CEC Secretary, the camera will cover the period from the opening of election district to closing of station. Mammadov added that the process, taken into the cameras, for five years, will be stored in the archive of the CEC.

The OSCE observation mission is satisfied with the government's efforts directed towards improving the pre-election situation in the country in the period of presidential elections.

"The government makes serious efforts and try to improve the situation as compared to the previous elections," Boris Frles, Head of OSCE observation mission, told Trend on 8 October.

"Of course, it requires certain political resoluteness, but we did not reveal any manipulations during the pre-election process in the country," Head of OSCE observation mission said. Generally the preparations for the elections are good, but there are several issues which still require discussions, for instance, installation of web-cameras in the polling stations, he said.

Today the Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan approved the rules of the installation of web- cameras in the elections districts. Web- cameras will be established in 500 elections districts, and this will cover 10 percent of the elections districts of Republic. With the aid of the cameras, all processes will be observed. Cameras will be connected to the Internet, and in any country of world it will be possible to control the process of presidential elections in Azerbaijan.

Frles said that all presidential candidates possess equal opportunities to hold pre-election campaign.

Touching upon the boycotting of the elections by several opposition parties, the OSCE representative left this question to their discretion, saying that let them decide whether they will be able to gain large support of society, boycotting the elections.     

"I hope that these elections will take place in accordance with Azerbaijan's wish to follow the standards of the international organizations such as OSCE, Council of Europe," he said.

The Azerbaijani Central Elections Commission (CEC) finished distribution of ballot papers amongst constituencies ahead of time.

їThe CEC finished distribution of 4, 903, 600 ballot papers, which were published by 3% more than votersї number,ї Mazahir Panahov, the chairman of the CEC, told journalists on 8 October.

Some 1,056 people will observe the upcoming presidential elections in the Lankaran region in Azerbaijan, Elshad Ibrahimov, head of the regional organizations of the Executive Administration of Lankaran, told Trend .

Some 451 observers represent political parties, 438 -NGO. The rest 167 people will observe the elections voluntarily.

The ballot papers process have been completed in Lankaran. About 95% of electorates were informed and others are beyond the region.

About 111,250 voters were registered in Lanakran, the election district reported.

There are 4 election districts (73, 74, 75 and 76) in Lankaran and 115 election centres. 

Observation mission of CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) has revealed flaws in preparations for presidential elections in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan.

CIS mission visited Babak, Nakhchivan and Shahbuz cities and revealed some organizational problems, Yevgeni Sloboda, head of the mission said.

Majority of the problems were of technical character, in equal distribution of agitation sections and readiness of Constituency Election Commissions, he said.

їFor example, we did not approve location of observers and they changed it at our recommendation,ї Sloboda said.

As a whole, preparations of these cities to elections can be assessed as intermediate, head of the mission said. He said he is hopeful no serious violations will occur on day of voting.

The mission plans to visit Khachmaz and Lankaran, he said.

An independent press-centre was opened at the Central Election Commission (CEC).

The centre will function 24 hours for media and political party representatives. Centre is equipped with all the necessary techniques. Similar centres have been opening at CEC since 2000, Mazahir Panahov, Chairman of CEC, said at the opening ceremony of the centre.

The Azerbaijani presidential candidates are dissatisfied with media, especially television channels, which do not highlight the elections campaign properly.

їMedia does not highlight candidatesї elections campaign and approach to this issue jealously,ї Hafiz Hajiyev, a presidential candidate of the opposition Muasir Musavat Party, said at a round table on 9 October, which was organized by the Association of Assistance to Civil Society Development in Azerbaijan.

Media does not equally cover presidential candidatesї activity and platforms, Hajiyev said.

їWe want media organizations, which are financed through the public budget, to highlight equally presidential candidatesї activity and platforms,ї the presidential candidate said.

At present, the campaign is being held to downplay the presidential elections in Azerbaijan, MP Fazil Gazanfaroglu, a presidential candidate of the opposition Great Establishment Party, said.

їThe Central Elections Commission (CEC) plays an important role in this matter. The CEC fixed presidential candidatesї debates, which are aired through the Public Television, to 06.50PM. At that time, majority of citizens are out of home, because they remain in traffic jam returning from their work. They seek not to publicize candidatesї meeting to the public,ї Gazanfaroglu said.

Gazanfaroglu said that two-hour TV program, which express presidential candidatesї opinions on solution of problems of the Azerbaijani regions, was prepared with the support of the international organizations. However, the National Broadcasting Council banned regional televisions to air the TV program.

The presidential elections campaign in Azerbaijan is passive and reviving is not observed in the run up to elections despite the expectations, according to a report of the Association on Assistance to Civil Society Development, which contains results of monitoring, held at media before the elections.

Monitoring was held from 1 September to 1 October and covered seven televisions and eight daily newspapers of the country.

According to the report, televisions spread 327 news items on the presidential elections within a month. Of them 295 dealt with the election activities of official, international organizations and observers.

"They did not give any data concerning position of political forces boycotting the elections," the report said.

Newspapers published 862 articles about the elections. A total of 502 articles of them covered activities of official and international organizations: "Some 362 articles were about candidates and political forces boycotting the elections. Monitoring revealed that newspapers did not maintain balance within last month."

The Azerbaijan Central Elections Commission (CEC) publicized a final number of the registered local observers.

"More than 40,000 local observers have been registered to follow the presidential elections in Azerbaijan," Mazahir Panahov, the chairman of the CEC, told journalists on 9 October.

Term of registration of observers has finished.

A total of 19,752 local observers are representatives of political parties, 12,525 representatives of non-government organizations and 4,078 observers, who passed a registration at own initiative, Panahov said.

More than 2,600 people of the registered local observers passed a registration at the CEC and 36,355 at the constituencies.

The polling process at 33 stations in foreign countries will be united within four constituencies in Azerbaijan (Sabail 29, Yasamal 15, 16, 17).

The Azerbaijanis Coordination Centre in Germany adopted a statement on the presidential elections to be held in Azerbaijan.

The document appraised the current President Ilham Aliyev's five-year activities, the State Committee for Azerbaijanis Living Abroad told Trend on 9 October.

Azerbaijan's successful integration into Europe as a result of Ilham Aliyev's wise interior and foreign policy assumes special importance for all Azerbaijanis residing in Germany, the statement reads. Taking into consideration just these achievements, we support Ilham Aliyev's candidature and urge all Azerbaijani citizens living, working and studying in Germany to vote for the current President," the document stresses.

Azerbaijani Interior Ministry has fulfilled all the necessary measures related to police commitments on the presidential elections.

їSo far the presidential contenders and their officials held 139 arrangements in the capital and different regions. No public order violation had been observed during arrangements,ї said Ramil Usubov, Azerbaijani Interior Minister, at the meeting with Evgeniy Sloboda, CIS watchdog missionїs head, and  Vasiliy Astreiko, member of the headquarters.

Sloboda said that no violation facts were met during observation. їAll conditions for transparent and democratic elections were created in Azerbaijan,ї said Sloboda.

The Azerbaijani citizens living in Spain will support the current President Ilham Aliyev, the chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party (NAP), in the upcoming presidential elections.

At the meeting of the Azerbaijan-Turk Cultural Society, which functions in Spain, the Azerbaijani citizens living in Spain said that they would support Ilham Aliyev, who increased Azerbaijan's authority in the international arena and pursued policy directed strengthening of the country's positions, as well as provided political stability and economic development, in the presidential elections to be held in Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijan-Turk Cultural Society has obtained necessary propaganda material through the Azerbaijani Embassy in Spain and draws main directions of Ilham Aliyev's platform to voters' attention.

The pre-election situation in Azerbaijan can be considered as normal, rapparteurs of the Council of Europe (CE) Committee of representatives for democracy came to this conclusion at a meeting, dedicated to fulfillment of the CE Activity Plan on the presidential elections in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan does not have any problem concerning fulfillment of the CE Activity Plan on the eve of the presidential elections, Jan Lui Loran, the head of the CE Directorate for Democracy and Politics, and Veronica Codec, the CE Special Envoy in Azerbaijan said at the meeting. The Azerbaijani authorities too closely cooperate with the CE. Different trainings are held in the country and enlightenment work is conducted amongst people.

Stelian Stoian, the chairman of Ago group and the Romanian Ambassador, hailed fulfillment of the CE Activity Plan without mistakes and mentioned that this fact would enable to hold fair elections in Azerbaijan. їOppositionїs non-participation in the elections in all three South Caucasus countries testifies that they do not know rules of political games,ї he said.

The adopted Law on Freedom of Assembly and holding special trainings in Azerbaijan cannot remain without welcome, Gianni Buquicchio, the Secretary of the Venice Commission, said. їInstallation of web cameras in the polling stations will contribute to transparent and fair holding of the presidential elections in the country,ї he said.

Processes take place in normal way on the eve of the presidential elections in Azerbaijan and holding trainings and involvement of international observers cannot be remained without opinions, representatives of France, the United Kingdom, Norway, Russia and Moldova said at the meeting.

The Azerbaijani Government highly assesses cooperation with the international organizations on the eve of the elections, Arif Mammadov, the head of the standing Azerbaijani representation at the CE and the Ambassador, said.

The Azerbaijani Parliament will not examine the issue, which envisages granting vacancies at the elections commission to opposition parties in minority.

їThe minority opposition parties at the parliament should reach agreement on this matter amongst themselves,ї Ziyafat Asgarov, the first vice-speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament, told Trend on 10 October.

In accordance with the Elections Code, the Azerbaijani elections commissions are formed by majorities of the parliament, as well as representatives of the minorities and neutralist MPs. Six members of the Central Elections Commission (CEC) are from minorities, six members ї minorities and six ї neutralist MPs.

The right-wing Musavat Party, which is presented at the parliament by four MPs, refused to send its representatives to vacancies of the elections commissions. Minorities of the parliament, including the Unified Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan, the Great Establishment Party and the Citizens Solidarity Party, offer to send their representatives to the elections commission. The parties want to submit this issue to the Parliament for discussion.

Asgarov said that the Parliament would not interfere into this matter. Minorities of the parliament cannot reach agreement on sending representatives to the elections commission, he said.

їEvery party wants to send its representatives to commissions and it has emerged such a situation. It is not a serious problem for commission to have some vacancies and it cannot prevent the presidential elections.

A polling station was organized at the Azerbaijani Embassy in Ankara and Consulate in Istanbul to provide the Azerbaijani citizens living in Turkey to take part in the presidential elections to be held in Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijani citizens in Turkey can vote only at polling stations, organized at the Azerbaijani Embassy in Ankara and the Consulate General in Istanbul. There will not be any polling stations in other regions of Turkey. A total of 562 voters are registered in Ankara and about 558 - in Istanbul. These lists have been confirmed and the figures are the final.

It will be possible to watch the elections process at 500 polling stations through websites of the Central Elections Commission (CEC).

The Azerbaijani CEC will install web cameras at 500 polling stations. The web cameras will be connected to the organization's official websites, including www.msk.gov.az ; www.cec.gov.az ; www.infocenter.gov.az , the CEC told Trend on 10 October.

On 8 October the CEC made a decision to install web cameras at some polling stations in order to create favorable conditions for people to watch the elections process on the elections day, members of the elections commissions to conduct work with election documents, voters to vote without any illegal interference, to drop ballot papers into ballot boxes, to calculate votes, to watch legalizing process of the determined results and to take additional measures widely to provide publicity.

On the election day any person can watch the election process from the beginning to the end (except filling ballot papers at booth) at polling stations, where web cameras were installed, through the CEC's official websites.

Polling stations are being organized at military units and Prison 2 in the Azerbaijani western city of Ganja (365km of Baku), constituencies functioning in Ganja told Trend on 10 October.

Polling stations will function at seven military units and one prison, which are located in the area of three constituencies in Ganja.

A total of 400 prisoners, who serve their punishments at the Ganja City Prison 2, will take part in the presidential elections.

Web cameras have been installed at 24 polling stations in Ganja, constituencies reported.

Moreover, 1,067 observers have been registered in Ganja and 546 people of them are political parties, 137 people of them will observe the elections at own initiative and384 people of them are from non-government organizations.

There four constituencies (37, 38, 39, 40) and 104 polling stations in Ganja.

A total of 2,300 representatives of the Eurasian Lawyers Association were accredited to monitor the upcoming presidential elections in Azerbaijan, Association said to Trend on 10 October.

The people who were registered at the Central Election Commission, district election commissions and voting stations will monitor 50% of districts and divisions countrywide.

According to results of opinion poll in the Azerbaijani south region, the Ruling New Azerbaijan Partyїs (NAP) candidate will gain victory in the upcoming presidential elections by majority of votes.

With respect to question `Whose election opportunity do you assess highly amongst presidential candidates?, a total of 407 people (82.2%), who took part in the opinion poll, named the current President Ilham Aliyev,ї Iltifat Rahimzade, the head of the South Regional Intellectuals Union Initiative Group, which conducted opinion poll, said at a news conference held in the Trend Company Media Centre on 10 October.

The South Regional Intellectuals Union Initiative Group was established several months ago and comprises seven people. Rahimzade, the head of the group, was the chairman of the right-wing Musavat Partyїs Lankaran Regional Organizations from 1993 to 2004. He resigned from the party in 2004 and joined the opposition right-wing Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan. Rahimzade was head of the partyїs regional organization and resigned from the party in 2006.

A total of 500 respondents took part in the opinion poll and the survey was held in four south regions, including Lankaran, Astara, Masalli and Lerik, Rahimzade said.

їThe opinion poll covered 10-15 villages in each region. Majority of respondents was neutralist and their anonymity was preserved during the survey,ї he said.

According to Rahimzade, Igbal Agazade (30 people ї 6.060%), Gulamhuseyn Alibayli (26 people ї 5.25%) and Gudrat Hasanguliyev (10 people ї 1.62%) ranked three places after the ruling partyїs candidate. Eight people (1.62%) did not highly assess election opportunity of any presidential candidate.

In reply to question `Whom from presidential candidates do you want to see as the President?ї majority of respondents - 402 people (81.01%) named the current head of state, 34 people (6.87%) ї Agazade, 27 people (5.45%) ї Alibayli and 13 people (2.63%) Hasanguliyev.

їMajority of respondents ї 434 people (87.68%) condemned opposition parties boycotting the elections, 17 people supported this decision and 44 people (8.89%) could not answer this question,ї he said.

Some 428% of respondents (86.46%) said that if the opposition parties boycotting the presidential elections participated in the elections, they would not vote for any of them.

їThe opposition is weak, there is no unity inside opposition and they struggle against one-another. This fact resulted in loss of their authority. The society wanted opposition to take part in the elections,ї Rahimzade said.

At a meeting of the secretariat the opposition Azerbaijan National Independence Party (ANIP) discussed participation of its members and supporters in the upcoming presidential elections.

"The meeting made a decision on independent participation of the Party's members in the presidential elections," Ali Orujov, the press and propaganda secretary of the ANIP, told Trend on 10 October.

The ANIP was made a decision not to participate in the presidential elections.

According to the ANIP's official, leadership of the party demonstrated its respect to each citizen's right of elect and to be elected, which is described in the Azerbaijani Constitution, and granted independence to its members and supporters concerning the elections.

Azerbaijani embassies in the Muslim countries are prepared for the Presidential elections.

Preparation of the polling station for the Azerbaijani citizens in Iran has been completed, Azerbaijanїs Ambassador to Iran, Abbasali Hasanov, told Trend by telephone from Tehran on 10 October.

Hasanov said that the procedure of preparation for the elections finished, and information was provided for the citizens of Azerbaijan, who temporarily live in Iran. The total number of potential voters is approximately 300 people, with majority of students, businessmen and the members of the families of diplomats. A commission has been established from six people, who will follow conduct of elections based on the standards of Electoral Code, the Ambassador said.

The number of voters - the citizens of Azerbaijan, who live in Egypt, composes 110 people. A polling station has already been created at the Embassy, Faig Bagirov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Egypt, told Trend by telephone from Cairo.

One polling station will work in Saudi Arabia on the day of presidential elections, Togrul Gafarov, First Secretary of Embassy of Azerbaijan in this country, told by telephone from Er Riyadh. The number of voters in this country is nearly 100 citizens of Azerbaijan.

According to the Electoral Code of the country, polling stations should be established in the states where more than 50 Azerbaijani citizens reside.   

The CIS Executive Committee is satisfied with the implementation of all items of the Electoral Code of Azerbaijan.

їThe pre-election process in Azerbaijan takes place in accordance with the Electoral Code of the country,ї CIS Executive Secretary, Sergey Lebedev, told Trend on arrival in Baku.

Sergey Lebedev heads the CIS observation mission for the presidential elections in Azerbaijan. Lebedevsaid that the preliminary estimations of pre-election process, according to the first reports of the CIS observation mission, say that the legislation of Azerbaijan is completely observed. Azerbaijan has a good potential for holding democratic and fair elections. In order to more closely get familiarized with the situation, Lebedev plans to visit election districts and conduct a number of meetings with the heads of the election commissions.

The CIS observation mission opened its office in Baku in mid October. Today as a result of observation of the pre-election situation in the country, the mission has prepared two reports, in which pre-election situation in Azerbaijan was evaluated as good with the insignificant organizational deficiencies. The number of the mission, whose activity covers not only the capital, but also all regions of Azerbaijan, composes approximately 390 people.

Foreign policy

EU Special Representative for South Caucasus Peter Semneby is studying the election situation in Azerbaijan. On 6 October, Semneby will meet with Azerbaijani officials and the representatives of countries' political parties and civil society. Semneby will hold meetings at the Foreign Ministry and Central Election Commission to get acquainted with the election situation.

The meeting of activists of the Azerbaijani diaspora and the administration of the Kazakhstan Azerbaijanis Association received an appeal to support the candidacy of Ilham Aliyev at the presidential elections in Azerbaijan.

The current generation, whose fathers and grandfathers were evicted from native land to Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries during the Stalin repressions of 1932-1937/38, respire Azerbaijan and are glad of its success, head of the Azerbaijani diaspora Abulfaz Khamedov said to Trend . їThe Azerbaijanis of Kazakhstan are sure the problem with occupied Azerbaijani territory will be solved under the leadership of Ilham Aliyev.ї

The appeal addressed to Ilham Aliyev says that Azerbaijanis residing in Kazakhstan feel Azerbaijanїs concern for them. Current construction of 12-storey Azerbaijani House in the centre of Astana is the result of goods relations between the two countries, said Khamedov.

At its end the appeal says that powerful Azerbaijani businessmen, the owners of leading companies engaged in construction in Kazakhstan, wish to invest in their historical motherland.

Iraq wants Azerbaijani embassy to be opened in Baghdad.

їThe Iraqi Government wants Azerbaijan to open its embassy in Iraq,ї Iraqi Ambassador to Azerbaijan Arshad Omar Ismail said to Trend .

їThe issue had been discussed with the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry. Azerbaijan demonstrated a political will,ї he said.

Azerbaijani Ambassador to Jordan Elman Arasli is accredited in Iraq.

їMany Muslim countries now open their embassies in Iraq. There are embassies of Western countries, such as UK, Norway, Italy and many others, in Iraq. We would like the number of the embassies of our friendly countries to increase in Iraq,ї said Ambassador.

Iraq opened is consulate in Azerbaijan in 1973. After Azerbaijan gained independence, Baghdad extended its diplomatic mission in the country and sent an ambassador.

ї Iraq is open for foreign investments. Should any country or company get interested to invest in Iraq, we will be very glad. We call on Azerbaijani companies to invest in the economy of Iraq,ї said diplomat.

Political movements

Former chairman of organization of the opposition Popular Front of Azerbaijan Party (PFAP) in Lenkoran region spread a statement, protesting against the party's leadership.

Stating about his wish to be a member of Aydinlar party, Bagir Agayev told Trend about the reason of his resignation and transfer to new pro-opposition party Aydinlar, which is being setting up at the initiative of Gulamhuseyn Alibeyli, former chairman of the PFAP Supreme Majlis. "I arrived in Baku on 21 June to meet with chairman of the party Ali Kerimli, but failed. Hasan Kerimov, under the pretext of not having time for the meeting, agreed only upon 10-15-minute talk," Agayev said.

Chairmen of Lenkoran, Samukh and Gakh departments of the PFAP resigned and joined to election headquarters of Alibeyli, stating that they will continue their political activities in Aydinlar party.

Agayev said that PFAP's leadership showed lately disrespect to him "Ali Kerimli did not respect me and decision of party's regional department of Majlis. How logical is Hasan Kerimli's accusation of my inactivity, instead to answer my statements?" Agayev said.

Agayev said that 34 members of PFAP's organization in Lenkoran region have resigned over a few days.

"I and five people will enter Aydinlar party, which will be set up by initiative of Gulamhuseyn Alibeyli. Others has not informed yet in which party they intend to continue their political activities," former member of APF said.

Panah Huseyn, a member of the Azerbaijani opposition MP group, does not exclude establishment of oppositionїs new cooperation centers and new blocs after the presidential elections.

їOpposition forces, whose positions are different, will not cooperate. The current format can be changed,ї the MP told Trend on 10 October.

Policy of the Azerbaijani authorities and development tendency of events requires total unification of the opposition, Huseyn said.

їUnification of democratic opposition and coordination of their resources require action to preserve at least fundamental primary democratic values as well as democratic potential and resistance force of society. At present the opposition is under crisis state and the above-mentioned objectives, surely, cannot be achieved in this condition. Therefore, it is necessary to expect democratic forces actively to enter political arena and resist. The election of 2008 is not an important stage. The years 2009 and 2010 will be more important for opposition. Therefore, from now the opposition should solve some important issues to get prepared for this stage,ї Huseyn said.

According to Huseyn, the first step of the opposition should be an attitude towards elections held in undemocratic condition.

їShould a positive decision will be made on participation in the elections in 2009 and 2010, a new tactics demand will arouse. Although boycott represents a position, I consider this position useless. An attitude towards the authorities, which were not formed as a result of democratic and fair elections, should be discussed. Nevertheless, it is real authorities and political forces, which function under the law, should take it into consideration,ї Huseyn said.

Although the Opposition Cooperation Centreїs boycott decision was designated for a short period, it had a little impact on the process.

їMajority of political forces, which claim the name of real opposition in Azerbaijan, refused to nominate own candidates and through this step expressed their protest against policy of the current authorities, interior political situation of the country and not holding presidential elections under fair and democratic conditions. Currently, it can be considered as acceptable. This is also a political position. Therefore, I do not consider the boycott decision as unimportant. I am sure that the authorities will see its impact,ї Huseyn said.

Nagorno-Karabakh

On 7 October, the Armenian armed forces fired at the positions of Azerbaijani armed forces located in Ashagi Askipara village of Gazakh region from positions near Voskepar, Azatmut villages of Noyemberan region of Armenia from 03:20p.m. to 03:30p.m.

On 7 October, the Armenian armed forces fired at the positions of Azerbaijani armed forces from positions near Tapqaraqoyunlu village of Goranboy region from 00:50a.m. to 01:00a.m. and from Goyarkha and Yarimja villages of Terter region from 01:00a.m. to 01:15a.m., the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated and no casualties were reported

On 7 October, the Armenian armed forces fired at the positions of Azerbaijani armed forces located in Alibayli village of Tovuz region, Jafarli and Gizilhajili villages of Kazakh region from positions near Azatmut and Berkaber villages of Ijevan region of Armenia from 1:20p.m. to 1:30p.m, 6:45p.m to 6:55p.m and from 7:77p.m to 8:05p.m.

The Armenian armed forces fired at the positions of Azerbaijani armed forces from unnamed positions near Tartar region, Geyarkh, Chayli, Seysulan and Yarimja cillages from 12:05p.m. to 12:35p.m, 6:30p.m to 7:00pm and from 7:25p.m to 9:25p.m, as well as from unnamed heights in Kazakh region, near Mazamli village, Khojavand and Fuzuli regions and near Yusifjanli village of Agdam region, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated and no casualties were reported.

On 8 October, the Armenian armed forces fired at the positions of Azerbaijani armed forces located in Khoka Nabi and Gosha villages of Tovuz region of Azerbaijan from nameless heights of Berd region and Chinari village of Armenia from 08:25p.m. to 09:00p.m.

The Armenian forces also fired from 09:30p.m. to 09:55p.m, from 06:10p.m. to 06:30p.m., from 10:35p.m. to 11:00p.m. and on 9 October from position in Yusifjanli and Bash Garvand villages of Agdam region from 00:20a.m. to 00:40a.m., from Kuropatkino village of Khojavand region from 01:50a.m. to 02:25a.m., from nameless heights of Fuzuli region from 03:00a.m. to 03:30a.m. and from 06:40a.m. to 06:50a.m., from nameless heights of Terter region from 03:30a.m. to 04:10a.m., from nameless heights of Gazakh region from 06:02p.m. to 06:10p.m. and from Mehdili and Jojug Marjanlu village of Jabrail region from 06:30a.m. to 06:50a.m., the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said.

The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated and no casualties were reported

On 9 October, the Armenian armed forces fired at the positions of Azerbaijani armed forces located in nameless heights of Gazakh region from 09:30p.m. to 09:40p.m.

The Armenian armed forces also fired from position near Goyarkh, Seysulan and Chilabert villages of Terter region from 05:00p.m. to 05:15p.m., from 09:30p.m. to 09:55p.m. and from 10:35p.m. to 11:05p.m. and on 10 October from 03:20a.m. to 04:00a.m., from 05:20a.m. to 05:30a.m., and on 9 October from Yusifjanli and Javahirli villages of Agdam region from 01:45a.m. to 02:05a.m. and on October from 10:25p.m. to 10:30p.m., the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said.

The National Army of Azerbaijan retaliated and no casualties were reported

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