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Azerbaijan: OSCE Appeals For Participation In Poll

Munich, 6 July 1998 (RFE/RL) -- The OSCE has urged the opposition in Azerbaijan opposition to participate in the October presidential elections and drop plans for a boycott.

The appeal came from the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) which will monitor both the election campaign and the 11 October election.

The director of the office, Gerard Stoudmann, said Friday (July 3) he was urging political parties to present their nominations to the central election commission to help the process of democracy in Azerbaijan.

Stoudmann said his office was pleased that a number of its proposals were incorporated in the final text of the election law. But he said the outstanding concerns should also be addressed so that the presidential elections are conducted in line with OSCE commitments.

"We strongly recommend that measures be adopted to allow for domestic, non-partisan election observers," Stoudmann said. He also said the OSCE suggests that clear and uniform procedures be introduced for the collection and validation of the signatures in support of the candidates. There should be more clarity about which people are allowed into polling station premises on election day.

OSCE suggested that the Central Election Commission should immediately establish detailed rules and regulations to address these issues.

OSCE appealed to the authorities of Azerbaijan to provide clear and proper instructions to State organs, in particular security forces, in order to prevent any interference in the electoral process.

The election are to be held on 11 October. The OSCE teams monitoring the election campaign will go to Baku on 7 September.