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Advocacy Group Says West Soft On Azerbaijan Election


http://gdb.rferl.org/DE98DD53-5751-4197-9BCE-51CAA1028A9F_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/DE98DD53-5751-4197-9BCE-51CAA1028A9F_mw800_mh600.jpg An Azeri man clears campaign posters in Baku after the elections (epa) 23 November 2005 -- A prominent international analysis group said on 23 November that Western governments have not "dared" to criticize the recent elections in oil-rich Azerbaijan because of their interests in the region.

Sabine Freizer, Caucasus director for the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, said that U.S. and EU statements "have generally focused on technical issues and have not really dared to take an extra step to make any political criticism."


The group published a scathing report on 22 November in which it called on Western governments to launch a "diplomatic embargo" on Azerbaijan if the energy exporter did not address repression and fraud linked to the 6 November poll.


A European observer mission has said the election did not meet international standards and noted widespread irregularities during ballot counting.


Azerbaijan's election authorities on 23 November released the final results of the disputed elections.


The Central Election Commission said that, with the votes from 121 of the country's 125 electoral constituencies validated, the Yeni Azerbaycan (New Azerbaijan) ruling party won 58 seats in the 125-member national assembly.

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