ANKARA (Combined Sources)—Turkey and Azerbaijan issued separate statement on Thursday condemning upcoming parliamentary elections in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, the Turkish Today’s Zaman reported.
The elections will take place on May 23 and will be the 5th time the Republic has held a democratic vote for its legislature since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Four political parties and 45 individual candidates are vying for 33 seats in the parliament. Seventeen of them are contested under the system of proportional representation, while the remaining seats will be distributed in 16 single-mandate constituencies.
According to News.az, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the polls are in violation of international law and illegal, adding that they cast a “shadow on regional stability and reduce to zero the efforts of the international mediators on the peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict.”
Azerbaijan’s Central Election Commission similarly chimed in on Thursday, denouncing as illegal the upcoming parliamentary elections, RFE/RL reported.
The commission said in a statement that the May 23 elections violate Azerbaijan’s constitution and international law. It says holding elections and referendums on the territory of Azerbaijan is the exclusive prerogative of the country’s Central Election Commission.
It further condemns as interference in Azerbaijan’s domestic affairs the arrival of international observers in Stepanakert to monitor the voting.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has also condemned the upcoming elections.
Elections held in Karabakh have always been condemned by Azerbaijan and Turkey.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic declared independence from Soviet Rule in 1991. Azerbaijani forces invaded the fledgling republic shortly after a referendum was held confirming independence. The three-year war that ended in 1994 in a cease-fire agreement that has left Karabakh independent yet internationally unrecognized.