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Last Day Of Campaigning Before Azerbaijan Vote


4 November 2005 -- Today is the official last day of campaigning ahead of Azerbaijan's parliamentary elections on 6 November.

Upwards of 2,000 people were reported to have attended the main opposition Azadliq alliance's final pre-election rally last night Sumgait, north of Baku.

Opposition leaders have vowed to launch peaceful street protests if the elections for the 125-seat Milli Mejlis are marred by massive fraud.

President Ilham Aliyev, meanwhile, has said the recent arrests of two ministers on charges of plotting a coup has saved Azerbaijan from possible civil war.

The Azerbaijani campaign has featured charges of unfair pressure by the authorities on opponents of the ruling party of the president.

Western governments say the election will be a key test of Azerbaijan's commitment to democratic reform. International observers have yet to judge an election in Azerbaijan to be free and fair.

(Reuters/AFP/AP)
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