Azerbaijan: Free, Fair Elections Unlikely after OSCE Withdrawal
Following the September 11 announcement that restrictions imposed by Azerbaijan compel the cancellation of an election observer mission planned by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The conditions imposed by President Aliyev's government on the European observer mission for the November 1 parliamentary elections make clear that Azerbaijanis risk having their votes stolen,” said Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president. “Members of the U.S. Congress should speak up for the people of Azerbaijan by calling on Aliyev's government to explain its actions and allow a comprehensive, credible election observation mission.”
Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) announced that the restricted number of election observers, counter to Azerbaijan’s OSCE commitments, “compelled” the cancellation of the election mission (See the following link: http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/azerbaijan/181611).
The European Parliament approved a resolution expressing “serious concern over the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation” in Azerbaijan, citing the parliament’s decision against sending an Election Observation Mission owing to limitations on the freedoms of expression, assembly and association.
Azerbaijan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2014, and receives a democracy score of 6.75 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2015.
To learn more about Azerbaijan, read our Fact Sheet.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.