CIS mission notes 'openness,' 'transparency' in Azerbaijan

CIS mission notes 'openness,' 'transparency' in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 3/ Trend, E. Tariverdiyeva /

The CIS observation mission is continuing to study Azerbaijani parliamentary election campaigns, mission reported in a statement on its website.

The observers have visited district election commissions and constituencies and noted the openness and transparency of their activities, as well as their desire to hold the elections at a high organizational level, the statement continues

The statement added that views were also exchanged on the pre-election campaign with OSCE/ODIHR head Audrey Glover.

The mission is monitoring the election campaign in coordination with the governmental authorities. Meetings have already been held with the Prosecutor General's Office, the Supreme Court, and the Interior Ministry, the statement said.

Mission experts have also conducted an analysis of the Azerbaijani electoral code in accordance with the CIS Convention on Standards of Democratic Elections, Electoral Rights and Freedoms and OSCE obligations in the election sphere.

"The observers, attending Central Election Commission (CEC) meetings, noted the open and transparent character of their work," the statement added. "The CEC meetings are reported in advance. The meetings are held with international observers, political parties, political blocs and journalists. The public is informed about the decisions made at these meetings through public media outlets and the CEC website."

The CEC website regularly updates information on preparations for the parliamentary elections. The CEC also opened a "hotline."

Webcams have also been installed in 500 constituencies to ensure the transparency of the voting process, the statement said.

"Brochures, booklets, instructions and explanations on applying the regulations of the Electoral code have also been issued and sent to district election commissions," the statement said. "Trainings have been held for electoral commission members."

Workshops have also been held for young people to encourage them to vote. During the workshops, representatives of district election commissions have provided information on the legislative process for holding parliamentary elections and the voting process.

Electoral commissions send notifications to voters with invitations to participate in the elections that contain information about the time and place of voting, the telephone numbers of constituencies, and the voting procedure.

In accordance with the electoral code, district election commissions started distributing ballots on Oct. 25, which indicate the names of candidates in alphabetical order.

In accordance with the electoral code, the elections are held by the majority system in 125 constituencies.

Representatives of political parties, political blocs and citizens should collect the signatures of at least 450 voters to run in the elections.

"Equal opportunities for free campaigning have been created for MP candidates," the statement said. "All registered candidates - about 700 - have received four minutes of free airtime on public television and a place for publication in periodicals to present their campaign platform to voters."

MP candidates and political parties held rallies, meetings, met with voters, and participated actively in the debates to attract the electorate. Posters and leaflets were also used in the campaign.

Warning boards have been installed in all constituencies for the pre-election propaganda materials of MP candidates.

"Meetings with voters were also conducted in more than 5,500 predesignated sites during the election campaign," the statement said. "The Interior Ministry and local executive authorities were instructed to create all of the necessary conditions for political parties, political blocs and MP candidates to conduct mass rallies and pre-election campaigns in these designated places."

At the same time, while some candidates used the airtime to spread information, others insulted their opponents and undermined the credibility of political parties and blocs. As a result, CEC Chairman Mazahir Panahov called on all candidates not to violate the requirements of the electoral code during the agitation period. In some cases, candidates placed their agitation materials on unauthorized sites.

Citizens are included in the list of voters based on their residency - the area where they have lived for at least six months out of the past 12 months.

Citizens also had the opportunity to study the list beforehand and to correct the information if necessary.

The CIS observers also visited and studied the work of district and precinct election commissions in Baku and Sumgayit, as well as the Shamakhi, Tovuz and Agstafa regions. They noted that their work meets electoral code requirements.

The election commissions were provided with rooms adapted for voting. They are equipped with communications and office equipment, references, and normative documents.

"While visiting the constituencies, CIS observers aimed to render consultative aid to the members of election commissions, to make recommendations in a friendly fashion, to resolve insignificant technical shortcomings in record-keeping procedures and voting booth and ballot box placement," the statement said.

The CIS observation mission will make its final conclusions in a statement on the results of their observation mission after the elections, a statement said.

The first group of election observers, including an organizational group, arrived in Baku on Oct. 17 to accredit short- and long-term observers on site and to open the observer headquarters, the executive committee told Trend today.

Later, the representatives from the embassies of the CIS countries, accredited in Baku, will join them, the executive committee said.

Yevgeni Sloboda will lead the CIS observation mission as during the Azerbaijani presidential elections in 2008.

The parliamentary elections are scheduled for Nov. 7. According to a list submitted to the CEC, Azerbaijan has roughly 5 million voters living in the country.

Parliamentary elections were last held in November 2005. The elections are held by the majority system in 125 electoral constituencies.

Two CIS observation groups - short- and long-term missions - will monitor the elections by carrying out pre-election monitoring and monitoring on election day. One group will work in Baku, and the other will operate in the regions.

CIS Executive Secretary Sergei Lebedev will arrive in Azerbaijan on the eve of the elections.

The CIS observation mission will issue a preliminary report on the day after the elections. The final report will be prepared within two months after the elections.

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