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European Parliament to observe Azerbaijan presidential election

6 September 2013 22:13 (UTC+04:00)
European Parliament to observe Azerbaijan presidential election

By Aynur Jafarova

As the presidential election in Azerbaijan approaches, the number of international organizations that intend to observe the vote is on the increase.

The European Parliament has made a decision to observe the October 9 elections.

The list of priority countries where election observation missions will be sent in the second half of 2013 was approved during a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament held on September 5, the Association for Civil Society Development in Azerbaijan quoted Head of the Azerbaijani delegation to Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Elkhan Suleymanov as saying.

During the discussions it was decided to include Azerbaijan in the list, Suleymanov said.

According to him, the aim of the European Parliament's decision is to pursue a balanced policy on the South Caucasus countries.

In May, the Azerbaijani government sent an invitation to the European Parliament for observing the presidential elections in Azerbaijan.

This year missions from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), GUAM and other international organizations will observe the presidential elections in Azerbaijan.

Secretary General of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development (GUAM), Valery Chechelashvili, told the Baku-based Trend news agency on September 6 that GUAM was forming a mission for the short-term observation of Azerbaijan's presidential election.

"There is a practice in our organization: GUAM's Parliamentary Assembly conducts the observation of an election at the invitation of a country. The presidential election in Azerbaijan is not an exception. We will arrive in Baku on October 9," he said.

However, due to the fact that the organization has limited resources, it doesn't monitor pre-election situation in countries, Chechelashvili said.

According to Chechelashvili, the organization is directly engaged in the observation of the election process itself on election day.

The GUAM delegation will monitor the election day and hold a press conference on October 10 in the morning to present conclusions on its observation of the voting.

Currently, the staff of the observation mission, which will include representatives from parliamentary delegations of GUAM countries, is being formed.

The mission will be divided into two or three groups in order to visit the greatest possible number of polling stations.

"The Georgian delegation will be led by the country's vice-speaker and current chair of GUAM's Parliament Assembly Zurab Abashidze. Delegations from Moldova and Ukraine haven't been formed yet. The mission will work in Baku, but a visit to the regions is also possible," Chechelashvili said.

This year candidates from various parties - both the ruling and opposition ones - as well as self-nominated persons have submitted documents to Azerbaijan's election body. To date, the number of approved nominees has reached 21. The number of officially registered candidates is two.

According to the Constitution, the President of Azerbaijan is elected for a five-year term through general, direct and equal elections, by free, private and secret voting.

Azerbaijani citizens who have the right of election, initiative groups of electors, political parties and blocs of political parties are entitled to nominating candidates.

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