Azerbaijan news

Presidential elections held in undemocratic atmosphere – Election Observation Alliance (EOA)

The snap Presidential elections of 7 February were held in a non-competitive and undemocratic atmosphere, according to the preliminary assessment of the local Election Observation Alliance (EOA).

Its observation mission consisted of seven experts and 20 short-term observers who monitored the voting and counting process at 120 polling stations in 20 constituencies.

According to the report, the main opposition parties boycotted the elections. At the same time, the candidate of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party, incumbent President Ilham Aliyev, faced no difficulties.

“In addition to the generally restrictive pre-election environment, numerous violations on election day significantly affected the integrity of the elections,” the document says.

The media and civil society were attacked and vilified both before and during the election campaign. The arrest of 10 journalists on the eve of the elections further exacerbated the repressive environment.  The unfavourable environment for civil society further undermined the integrity of the elections.

EOA representatives at 11 polling stations were prevented from taking photographs and video. In some cases, observers were illegally removed by police.

70 percent of polling stations were inaccessible to people with disabilities.

Voting by people not registered locally was recorded in 45 percent of polling stations.

Repeat voting occurred in 20 percent of polling stations,

15 percent- mass ballot stuffing,

In 60 percent “merry-go-round” voting (voting in groups at several polling stations).

Transparency was often violated during the counting process.

In 35 percent of polling stations, observers were unable to observe the vote count.

In more than 50 percent of polling stations, observers were not given the final reports.

More detailed information on the violations recorded will be published in the EOA’s final report.

* The EOA is a local public structure set up by a group of civil society activists on the eve of the current Presidential elections.

It is headed by Mammad Mammadzadeh.

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