By Amina Nazarli
The occupation of Azerbaijani lands by the Armenian Armed Forces inflicts great damage to the development of Azerbaijan’s electoral process, said Deputy Chairman of the Central Election Commission Natig Mammadov during a September 3 seminar devoted to the review of appeals in connection with the elections.
Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, after laying territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor that had caused a lengthy war in the early 1990s.
As a result of Armenia’s military aggression, over 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, 4,866 were reported missing, almost 100,000 were injured, and 50,000 were disabled. There are more than a million refugees and internally displaced people in Azerbaijan.
Mammadov stressed that IDPs cannot form their own municipalities or vote in municipal elections.
He noted that today, Azerbaijan has an electoral system and electoral experience based on certain traditions. “Successes achieved in this area are obvious, and international organizations, operating with us always note it,” the deputy chairman said.
Mammadov did not rule out the possibility of unpleasant circumstances during the elections. “Millions of people vote in the election and such a situation is a normal phenomenon,” he stressed.
Parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan received 267 complaints in 2010, and 96 complaints in the municipal elections of the same year. “These figures are very low for the process, which involves up to five million voters. However, this doesn’t mean that we do not respond. Our main goal is to avoid violations of voters' rights,” Mammadov said.
Toralf Pilz, the Charge D'Affaires of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan, for his part noted that free and fair elections are one of the foundations of democracy.
The EU is working in this field with Azerbaijan within the framework of various programs, he added.
“Our joint activities contribute to the improvement of the electoral process,” Pilz stressed.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled for November 1.
The pre-election campaign will start on October 9 and will end on October 31 at 8:00 (UTC/GMT +4 hours). The pre-election campaign begins 23 days before voting. This year, it will begin on October 9 and end on October 30.
All election documents necessary for the registration of candidates should be submitted to the district election commissions from September 12 to October 2 by 18:00 (UTC/GMT +4 hours).
Amina Nazarli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @amina_nazarli
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