“The November 7 parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan were peaceful, with the participation of all opposition parties and observers from domestic groups and the international community. Nevertheless, the elections did not meet international standards,” US Assistant Secretary of State Philip J. Crowley said in a statement regarding the poll.
Crowley said Washington continues to support the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) mission’s preliminary assessment that “the conduct of these elections overall was not sufficient to constitute meaningful progress in the democratic development of the country.”
“Some technical aspects of the election, including centralized registration and the inclusion of record numbers of domestic observers, constituted improvements, as did a modest increase in the percentage of female candidates,” he said. “However, there were serious problems noted during the pre-election process and on election day itself.”
Crowley said the US Department of State shares the concerns voiced by the OSCE/ODIHR Observer Mission “that the pre-election environment was characterized by a lack of balanced media coverage of candidates, continued restrictions on fundamental freedoms of assembly and expression, and a deficient candidate registration process that, taken together, resulted in an uneven playing field for candidates.”
“We call upon the Azerbaijani Government to focus now on adjudicating election grievances fairly, transparently, and expeditiously, ensuring accountability for officials who are suspected of interfering with the proper conduct of elections,” he said in his statement. “We further urge the Azerbaijani Government to respect freedom of expression, assembly, and association.”