By Aynur Karimova
Roughly 5.2 million Azerbaijani citizens, who enjoy the right to vote, will come to polling stations to express their constitutional right to elect their representatives to the supreme legislative body of the country, the parliament, on November 1.
This was stated by Mazahir Panahov, the Chairman of the Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan, in an interview with "Rossiyskaya Gazeta" newspaper.
He said that a great amount of work has been carried out toward the organization of parliamentary elections, and this process has involved millions of voters and thousands of candidates and their authorized representatives and agents, as well as tens of thousands of observers.
"The representatives of 15 political parties and one bloc of parties [which represents seven parties] have been registered as candidates to the parliament. They should be informed about their rights and duties, and they are allocated a place for campaigning. It is also necessary to ensure equal execution of all opportunities granted by the Constitution and the Electoral Code for all candidates," Panahov noted.
This year, 769 candidates will compete for seats in Azerbaijan's supreme legislative body.
Azerbaijan has accumulated considerable experience in conducting elections and referendums during the years of independence, according to him. The CEC chairman believes that there have been drastic changes in the preparations for the upcoming election compared to previous elections.
"Firstly, thanks to our accumulated experience, I mean the CEC with all its divisions, fewer shortcomings occur in the field, and hence the discontent of voters decreases," he added.
Panahov went on to add that all that the CEC has done and is doing is to uphold its main principle – the principle of transparency.
"In this regard, we – not only the CEC, but the Parliament and the Foreign Ministry – have invited observers from various countries and representatives of international structures. We are open to all. The main thing for us is the public of Azerbaijan to be satisfied with the conduct of the elections. The day of voting will show the result," he said.
International organizations and foreign media are showing significant interest in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan, to be held on November 1.
he spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, Hikmet Hajiyev, told the secki-2015.az website that the ministry has received numerous requests from international media agencies wishing to cover the election, and it shows their interest in this important political event.
To date, about 500 international observers from 27 countries have registered at the CEC for observing the election in Azerbaijan, particularly the observation missions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the International Conference of Asian Political Parties, Parliamentary Assembly of GUAM, Parliamentary Assembly of Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-speaking States, the parliaments of Australia, Italy, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, a delegation from the House of Lords of Great Britain, the heads of delegations of the central election commissions from different countries and other authoritative bodies.
Some 60,000 local observers will monitor the voting process.
Voting preparations will begin at 7:30 a.m. on November 1 in polling stations in Azerbaijan in accordance with the timetable.
Chairmen of the electoral commissions will declare polling stations open and the ballot boxes will be sealed at 7:50 a.m.
They will also announce the commencement of voting at 08:00 a.m. and the completion of the voting process at 7:00 p.m.
Information on the progress and results of the voting will be provided by the Information Center of the Secretariat of the CEC during the day at 10.00 a.m., 12.00 a.m., 3.00 p.m., 5.00 p.m. and 7.00 p.m.
The CEC has established 5,415 permanent and 132 temporary polling stations.
Webcams were installed in 1,000 polling stations in the regions of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic with an aim to provide transparency to the electoral process.
A three-tier protection system would be used to ensure the smooth operation of mass media outlets, in particular TV channels that will cover the election and the voting process.
An optical link will be used to transmit video to observers on Election Day. The voting process will be streamed online, and it will give voters an opportunity to monitor the results coming from polling stations.
Polling stations will also be provided with reliable telephone and Internet access.
Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova
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