Yerevan/Mediamax/. International observation mission said today that early presidential election in Azerbaijan on April 11 took place "within a restrictive political environment and under laws that curtail fundamental rights and freedoms, which are prerequisites for genuine democratic elections”.
“Against this backdrop and in the absence of pluralism, including in the media, the election lacked genuine competition. Other candidates refrained from directly challenging or criticising the incumbent President”, the international observers concluded in a preliminary statement today.
“On election day the observers reported widespread disregard for mandatory procedures, a lack of transparency, and numerous serious irregularities, including ballot box stuffing. More than half of the vote counts were assessed negatively, largely due to deliberate falsifications and an obvious disregard for procedures”, the mission said.
“We have to consider that, in a political environment where democratic principles are compromised and the rule of law is not observed, fair and free elections are not possible,” said Viorel Riceard Badea, head of the delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).