How would you assess the Parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan?
I believe from the polling booths that I visited that 1st November 2015 Parliamentary elections were transparent and in accordance with the main international rules.
During the short-term election observation, in particular, we looked at the organization of the elections on voting day. We received sufficient overview and the assurance of the adequate election process transparency.
We had the opportunity to visit many polling stations during the voting and counting process, and found that in those locations, the election process was in line with the main democratic standards and principles. We have observed there were only some irregularities to be seen and the stations which they visited were well organized.
An interesting fact: 21 women were elected in Parliament of Azerbaijan… What do you think about role of woman in politics?
The role of women in politics is very important to the development of democracy. Women's participation in democracy needs to be encouraged and enhanced. We need to create conditions for more women to contribute even more to the democratic process and to political life. This will make politics more inclusive of society.
Some of observation mission members noticed that major opposition parties did not participate in election process. Can this boycott be assessed as an act of protest?
The boycott is, of course, one way to show a point of view. But I am not sure if it is the most effective way to make a point.
I hope that the national elections, in particular, each country's development of democracy in the country is an opportunity to use democratic, practices, taking into account the specificities of this particular country
Once generally accepted international rules are met, they need to be internationally and nationally recognized.
Conclusion of the US State Department and some other Western states on electoral process in Azerbaijan was critical. Should we expect that it will affect Azerbaijan’s relations with these countries?
I do not know the background of this decision. But I would not always dwell on the negative. Every position is for something good, it is an opportunity to continuously improve the running of the elections. Intelligent criticism is the way forward and you always must find a common element that brings forth.
I hope that the elections would assist Azerbaijan’s progress along the path of strengthening democracy and expressed the wish to see greater cooperation with the EU and Azerbaijan in the context of the Eastern Partnership.