Azay Guliyev: OSCE/ODIHR should review the report and remove the shortcomings

Mon 16 April 2018 16:47 GMT | 20:47 Local Time

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Member of Parliament, OSCE PA Vice President Azay Guliyev spoke at the OSCE PA Bureau meeting on the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission in Azerbaijan on April 11.

Azay Guliyev informed the members of the Bureau that the presidential elections in Azerbaijan were successfully organized and each of the 8 candidates participating in the elections was provided with democratic and equal conditions. Six of the candidates were nominated by political parties, one candidate was a self-nominee and another one was nominated by an initiative group. Candidate from the New Azerbaijan Party, Mr. Ilham Aliyev overwhelmingly won the election.

The vice-president noted that, despite a number of serious disagreements and tensions in recent years, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the OSCE called on the Azerbaijani ODIHR to observe the presidential elections. Azerbaijan has created all opportunities for the Organization's Election Observation Mission to resume constructive and effective cooperation. He even asked ODIHR for a long-term observation mission and gave appropriate support.

Azay Guliyev thanked the OSCE PA President Mr. T.Tsereteli and Secretary General R. Montella for helping to establish constructive and lasting cooperation between the ODIHR and Azerbaijan and to find new opportunities for the sake of common values ​​and principles: "I express my gratitude to your energy and efforts for the matter and I highly appreciate it. However, unfortunately, the non-objective, unbalanced and unfair reporting on April 12 on behalf of the International Observation Mission negatively affected all these efforts and almost denied them."

Guliyev said that it is difficult for him to speak about all these problems and failures, such as a person dedicated to the OSCE PA for 13 years of his international activity and vice president of the organization: "Do not misunderstand my critical notes about the report. In any case, as a person who has led a number of international observation missions, I fully understand the role and position of ODIHR, so I do not object to any substantiated and objective criticisms and recommendations in the light of observations and analyzes. But I also know that critics and judgments are accurately perceived and taken seriously when they are prepared in a fair and balanced way based on real facts and evidence.

Unfortunately, after reading the preliminary findings and announcements of the International Election Observation Mission, both of them created an unfair, unbalanced and incomplete documentary experience. The initial report was unable to present both the positive and the negative sides to reflect the real situation of the election campaign and the election day, and some of the main critical points outlined at the same time were far from the truth. All of them are very worried about me as a member of the Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Vice-President of the Assembly ".

The OSCE PA Vice-President touched upon the issues that should be reflected in the statement for the fair and complete assessment, but not included in the report and the press release: "First, the report states that other candidates were afraid to criticize or oppose the current president. It is impossible to accept this irony. Because everyone who follows the election process has witnessed that some candidates to the presidency, especially ADP Chairman Sardar Jalaloglu, harshly criticized the authorities during the debates on Public Television, as well as in other media and social networks, and therefore did not face any restrictions."

The second issue concerns the provision of freedom of assembly, which is directly related to the political environment: "Exercise of the freedom of assembly which is directly related to the political environment. There wasn’t a single word in the press-realis and Statement about the fact that freedom of assembly of the candidates participating in the elections and the political parties that refused to take part in was respected as the opposition rallies which were held in the center of Baku on March 10 and 31 are clear examples in this regard."

Azay Guliyev said in his speech on the third issue that everyone who wants to participate in the elections and who has submitted documents and signatures in the legislation had equal conditions and no one has been prevented from participating in the election marathon in any way.

The fourth important thing is the fact that 80 percent of the Azerbaijani population has access to the Internet has been forgotten in the initial report, unlike the interim report.

It is not noted that websites in Azerbaijan, especially social media, are fully free and have no restrictions on the limits of insulting criticism.

The fifth point of the Vice President's remarks was related to the significant innovation introduced for the first time in the April 11 presidential election: "The aspect, which is a major innovation and was applied for the first time in the current year's presidential election, was unfairly and  deliberately left out of the spotlight and wasn’t included in the report. This is fact is that in addition to the free airtime allocated for debates on the Public Television, most of the nationwide private television news programs gave free airtime for all candidates for campaigning and provided detailed coverage of their meetings with voters. Even during the final week of the election campaign, 84 percent of the total number of materials demonstrated on TV channels were about the other candidates, namly opponents, and only 16 percent were dedicated to the election campaign of the YAP candidate. Although the OSCE / ODIHR had detailed information about it, unfortunately, they didn’t include any information about it in the report."

In the sixth issue of Azay Guliev, it is reported that the intermediate report submitted on March 29, 2018, differs from the original content presented on April 12, 2018, as if these documents are from different countries . Many important and positive provisions that are balanced in the interim financial statements are not included in the initial report, or the composition is completely changed. This fact creates serious doubts about the sincerity and accuracy of the Election Observation Mission.

The vice-president officially presented all the information and facts that he addressed in his speech to the OSCE PA leadership: "I would like to ask you to review these issues and submit them to the ODIHR for consideration in the final report. I hope that it is never too late to make the necessary steps - to correct mistakes and remove the shortcomings. "

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