Foreign policy: Lessons of parliamentary election in Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 1
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
The 2015 parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan were conducive to Western norms of voting and democracy, Mallory Moss, a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner of Psychiatry, wrote in her article published by the US Foreign policy news website.
Moss was the US observer of the parliamentary election in Azerbaijan.
"Azerbaijan has a well-earned reputation for its progressiveness, tolerance of religious and ethnic groups and as pro-Western strategic outlook, the author wrote. "The voters were calm and genuinely interested and involved in the process. Fail safe measures were undertaken, including identification requirements, ink spray, and ballot tracking."
Moss said that Azerbaijan invited numerous of observers from various countries (including Germany, Israel, Italy, and the U.S., among many others) to observe and provide commentary to the international community, domestic news stations, and those in charge of Azerbaijani voting protocols. When was the last time the U.S. did that?
"When the Azerbaijani government sent an invitation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to observe election, the OSCE insisted upon taking hundreds of observers to Azerbaijan to observe the elections, more than any other election to date," she said. "Azerbaijan requested the number to correspond to the number of electoral districts, i.e. one- hundred-twenty five."
"In a show of stubbornness both sides stuck to their positions with OSCE canceling the observation mission," she said. "In fact, according to my sources, the government of Azerbaijan was willing to allow OSCE to observe, but wanted to simply know why the stringencies of the system would surpass any other country in the world."
She said that this dialogue was not welcome by OSCE and they did not send observers, which resulted in negative press that did not reflect the obstacles that OSCE itself created.
"There was transparency, both internally and externally. Gerrymandering is non-existent and the Azerbaijanis genuinely wish to have a free and fair election process," the author wrote.
Earlier, the OSCE press-service issued a statement of the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Michael Georg Link. According to it, the observation mission was not sent to Azerbaijan on November 1, 2015.
Earlier, OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier expressed regret at a press conference in Moscow that it was impossible to reach an agreement regarding sending an ODIHR observation mission to Azerbaijan.
The voter turnout in the parliamentary election was 55.7 percent. More than 2.89 million people voted in the election, which is six percent more than in the previous parliamentary election held in 2010.