The presidential elections did not meet international standards of democracy - CMVOD
The Elections Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDSC) of Azerbaijan has released a preliminary conclusion on the early presidential elections in Azerbaijan on February 7. The EMDSC noted the traditional shortcomings in voting and vote counting, such as voting by persons whose names are not on the voter lists, voting by groups of people at various polling stations, interference by local executive structures in voting. Cases of multiple voting by the same persons have been recorded at a number of polling stations. On the day of the vote, facts of pressure on observers and journalists were noted.
Observers cooperating with EMDSC noted a significant difference between the actual turnout and official data on the number of voters. This gives reason to believe that the turnout was intentionally overestimated due to multiple votes by the same people, as well as mass ballot stuffing.
The pre-election situation, the election campaign and the day of voting give grounds to assert that the early presidential elections were held under absence of a democratic environment and real political competition, did not meet national legislation and international standards in the field of free and fair elections, EMDSC believes.
The elections were held in an atmosphere of political arrests of activists and journalists, blocking the activities of independent media and civil society institutions. EMDSC considers it necessary to improve the electoral practice of Azerbaijan based on the recommendations of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the OSCE/ODIHR, the report says.