US welcomes results of monitoring of re-run parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan by int'l observers

The United States welcomes the improvements noted by international monitors in Azerbaijans May 13th parliamentary re-run elections, Trend reports citing Ambassador Julie Finley as stating to the OSCE in May 18 remarks on the re-run elections, which saw new campaigns and balloting in 10 parliamentary constituencies.

We urge the Government of Azerbaijan to continue to work with ODIHR [Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, an agency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)] and to implement its recommendations so that the electoral process in Azerbaijan can meet fully international standards, a U.S. diplomat told Europes largest security and human-rights organization May 18

These re-run elections should be viewed in the overall context of the November 6th, 2005 parliamentary elections, Finley said, adding: We continue to share the comprehensive assessment of ODIHR on that process.

The OSCE monitored Azerbaijans November 6, 2005, parliamentary elections, assessing them as an improvement over previous ones, but still well short of meeting international standards, she reminded.

The United States urged the government of Azerbaijan to undertake immediate investigations into charges of irregularities and fraud consistent with Azerbaijan's laws, institutions and election legislation.

The United States supports strongly the strengthening of democratic institutions and civil society in Azerbaijan, including efforts to improve the electoral process, Ambassador Julie Finley told the OSCE in May 18 remarks on the re-run elections, which saw new campaigns and balloting in 10 parliamentary constituencies.

She noted the United States provided substantial assistance to Azerbaijan throughout the campaign and during the elections themselves with the aim of helping the former Soviet Republic overcome the shortcomings observed during the November 2005 elections.

We supported the democratic process, not particular parties or candidates, she said. Our efforts included supporting domestic election observation and training, the facilitation of an exit poll, and providing invisible finger-ink. We also deployed United States Embassy teams as accredited international observers to observe the conduct of the elections, she said.

Finley welcomed the improvements in the implementation of finger-inking, as well as the rapid posting of the results on the Web site of the Central Election Commission. She said the United States especially was pleased that a large number of domestic election observers participated in the election process, since local involvement of citizens is integral to democratic processes. She also noted that there was consistency between official and exit-poll results.

These re-run elections should be viewed in the overall context of the November 6th, 2005 parliamentary elections, Finley said, adding: We continue to share the comprehensive assessment of ODIHR on that process.

The United States will continue to support the aspirations of the government and people of Azerbaijan to build a democratic, prosperous and peaceful future, the U.S. representative to the OSCE concluded.

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