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Head of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Marianne Mikko and members of the Riigikogu Delegation to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) Jaanus Marrandi and Uno Kaskpeit will monitor the presidential elections in Azerbaijan as election observers.

“Elections are always a celebration of democracy. Is it also so in Azerbaijan – this is what the observers of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will go to check,” Mikko said. “Personally, I am rather sceptical about the comprehensive democracy of Azerbaijan. It would be great if I experienced the opposite in Baku.”

“The Republic of Azerbaijan is in a complicated geopolitical position between Iran and Russia, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict continues smouldering like a fire under the ashes,” Marrandi described the situation.  

Marrandi said that during the recent years, Azerbaijan had made efforts to improve its reputation – the number of political prisoners had decreased, and the cooperation with the European Union had become better. “The strong decline in oil prices made the country look for new opportunities to reform its economy,” Marrandi added.

The early presidential election in Azerbaijan will be held on 11 April, six months before the regular presidential election was to take place. Since 2003, the country has been ruled by President Ilham Aliyev.

31 MPs from the member states of the Council of Europe will observe the elections on behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. 50 members of national parliaments from 20 countries will observe the elections in the OSCE PA observation mission. The observation will take place under the Copenhagen Document adopted by the OSCE countries in 1990. The main requirements of this document are free elections, campaigning conducted in a fair and free atmosphere, unimpeded access to the media, and honest and correct reporting of results.

Traditionally, the OSCE will always prepare a final report after the elections. The OSCE PA did not take part in the latest parliamentary elections of Azerbaijan in 2015.

Epp-Mare Kukemelk
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