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Monitors Call For Reforms To Ensure Fair Azerbaijan Elections

The Azerbaijan Central Election Commission confirms the results of the November 7 elections.
The OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) released its final report on last November’s vote on January 25.

"Serious efforts are needed to create a competitive environment for genuine elections with equal and fair conditions for all candidates," ODIHR said.

President Ilham Aliyev's Yeni Azerbaijan party won more than 70 seats in the 125-seat parliament in the November elections, with almost all the rest going to independent candidates loyal to Aliyev.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe said immediately after the vote that it had been marred by "limitations of media freedom and freedom of assembly" as well as instances of ballot stuffing.

The final report "concludes that overall the elections failed to meet a number of key OSCE commitments for democratic elections and important elements of Azerbaijani domestic legislation. It also acknowledges positive aspects, such as the technical organization of the process and efforts to improve voter lists."

It includes more than 20 recommendations, such as ensuring fairness in registering candidates, and building an election administration that enjoys public confidence.

It also recommends Baku step up efforts to ensure the freedom and independence of the media and improve the conduct of the voting, counting, and tabulation process.

compiled from agency reports