Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct.21 / Trend S. Agayeva /
EDITOR's NOTE: details added after the fifth paragraph
An Observation Mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights published an interim report on the pre-election situation in Azerbaijan.
The mission positively estimates the pre-election activity of the Central Election Commission, appraises the conduct of extensive training sessions to enlighten voters and election commission members, and welcomes the open character of the CEC meetings with the participation of observers and the media outlets.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled for Nov. 7. The election campaign was officially launched on September 3. Previous legislative elections were held in November 2005. Parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan are held by the majority system in 125 electoral constituencies.
The mission also appraises the participation of all major political parties in parliamentary elections in the country.
The delegation with regret notes that women are under-represented in the political life of Azerbaijan. "While there are a few prominent women in politics, none are chairing a political party. In these elections, 13 per cent of the nominated candidates are women, as are 13 percent of the registered candidates," the report says.
The ruling party increased the number of women among its candidates significantly in comparison to 2005, from 13 to 19 (17 percent of registered YAP candidates). However, the number of women among opposition parties' candidates remains very low. The APFP-Musavat bloc has only five women among its 91 nominated candidates, the report says.
Pre-election period was characterized by the lack of visible activity of political parties, and partly it was due to limited financial resources of the opposition, the mission says.
Unlike the television, print media are more diverse, as some of them are the opposition and independent newspapers, the document says.The report also reflects the Observation Mission's assessment on the registration of candidates, preparation of voter lists, and voters' enlightenment in connection with the elections.