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Azeri President Seeks To Prevent Election Violations


12 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev issued a decree on 11 May enumerating measures intended to preclude violations and falsification during the parliamentary elections due in November, Turan and ITAR-TASS reported.

Aliyev attributed such abuses during earlier elections to the lack of professionalism of local election commission officials.

Swiss parliamentarian Andreas Gross, who is one of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe's rapporteurs for Azerbaijan, similarly expressed concern last month at the lack of professionalism of many Azerbaijani election officials.

Aliyev instructed the Central Election Commission to provide training to raise the qualifications of local election officials, who will be held legally responsible for "illegal interference in the election process."

But Aliyev did not recommend amending the composition of such election bodies to give the opposition equal representation.

Opposition politicians argue that only such equal representation can preclude a repetition of the falsification of results in individual precincts that international observers believe contributed to the victory in earlier parliamentary elections of candidates of the ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party or who are loyal to the current Azerbaijani leadership.

Aliyev further called for all parliamentary candidates to be provided with equal access to the media and freedom to conduct their election campaigns, and for the presidential administration to work with all political parties, whether pro-government or opposition, to monitor the use of technical assistance provided by international donors.
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