interviewed Head of the Department for Work with Law-Enforcement Bodies at the Presidential Administration Fuad Alasgarov-The OSCE ODIHR mission issued quite a critical preliminary report on presidential elections in Azerbaijan. How can you comment on this document?
The content of the report is not a criticism, it`s a lie, a political order. The report contradicts not only to the realities of present-day Azerbaijan, but also to common sense.
What are the realities of the elections? Elections were monitored by nearly 1,300 international observers, including representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, more than 50,000 of local observers.
The election was covered by numerous journalists of local and foreign media outlets. According to their reports and statements, the election was conducted at a high level without any serious violations that could affect their outcome, accurately reflected the will of the voters and met international standards.
A number of local and foreign companies held independent polls of voters - the so -called "exit poll", the results of which were similar and very close to those that have been officially announced by the Central Election Commission. They confirmed that the incumbent President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev won a landslide victory in the elections by a wide margin from other candidates.
Supporting the candidacy of Ilham Aliyev, the people voted for political stability, their personal well-being and sustainable socio-economic development and in a statement after the announcement of the preliminary results of the vote, Mr. President said that he would make every effort for Azerbaijan to continue developing as a strong democratic state.
Even the observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe who are quite critical of Azerbaijan and representatives of the European Parliament who have adopted a number of stiff resolutions against our country over the past few years congratulated the Azerbaijani people on peaceful, free, fair and transparent elections. OSCE chairman-in-office Leonid Kojara also congratulated the people of Azerbaijan while welcoming progress in the development of democracy in Azerbaijan manifested during the elections. EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborliness Stephan Fule and EU`s special envoy for international affairs and security Catherine Ashton stressed Azerbaijan`s commitment to democratic process.
Against the background of this, the report prepared by the ODIHR observers contains practically not a single positive moment related to elections, only a flow of negative. There is an impression that this structure observed the elections in some other country, rather than in Azerbaijan.
Such a significant different is explained quite simply. By a reliable information that we have, the draft report was drawn up in advance at the ODIHR Warsaw office. The observers` mission in Azerbaijan just created the visibility of intensive activity. This is an old method of this organization. This was also observed in connection with its previous reports on Azerbaijan. All the same, people that have no idea of the processes ongoing in our country or are biased towards Azerbaijan and its people are appointed as heads of the observers` mission. Current head of the mission of long-term observers Tana de Zulueta is one of such people. This time her `mission` to promote the ordered report coincided with her personal hostile attitude to our country.
Unfortunately, most observers involved to monitoring by ODIHR involuntarily turned into the tools of a political game against Azerbaijan. Most of them voice opinions that do not coincide with the position of the report and openly show their resentment that attempts are taken to present them the co-authors of the document which they have never seen and which they consider to be, at least, biased.
At the end of the day, special coordinator of the OSCE Michel Voisin who also spoke at the press conference yesterday was further obliged to make a special statement that the positive moments indicated by long-term observers were not reflected in the report.
He also noted that the elections revealed the undoubted winner and the whole election campaign evidences the progress of the country in the sphere of democracy. According to Voisin, this progress was reflected in both the number of candidates, their equal opportunity to hold agitation via television debates and the high activeness of voters and good organization of elections by the Central Election Commission. The statement says that the elections were held freely, transparently and fairly and that the OSCE coordinator fully shares the position of PACE and the European Parliament.
At yesterday`s press conference, the head of the ODIHR mission in response to fair remarks on the biased report and its discrepancy with the European Parliament and PACE said that all the rest organizations did not delegate long-term observers which is why could not cover the whole process of election.
But the very document of ODIHR is largely contrary to other reports in the part related to voting. And this stage of elections was watched by representatives of all international organizations who sent their observers. In addition, since 2000 Azerbaijan as a member of the Council of Europe has been under monitoring of this organization which is well aware of the current situation in the country. Therefore, such an absurd explanation of the ODIHR mission cannot conceal the politically motivated nature of their report.- It is odd that the OSCE/ODIGR report coincides with the statement of the National Council and its candidate for presidential elections.
This happens for the reason that similar methods are used in both cases. The so-called National Council, realizing the futility of their candidate, the lack of support from the people, and in anticipation of their crushing defeat chose the tactics of a false propaganda campaign about alleged fraud during the elections.
As a well-known proverb goes, thief himself cries the loudest "stop thief". Even during the election campaign, the candidate of the National Council was repeatedly convicted of numerous fraud. Many fakes produced by his supporters in an attempt to discredit the elections were revealed during voting. And they were in such a hurry that the video of "violations on election day" was posted online on October 8.
Falsification is just a method of radical opposition, which has completely lost touch with the people, can not get its support through a normal democratic way and no doubt that after the disastrous defeat in the elections will go into oblivion.
The same method of rigging is used by the ODIHR mission to fulfill its political order. Thus, apart from a handful of members of the National Council and the authors of the ODIHR report, no one recorded any serious irregularities during voting.- In just a few weeks, OSCE/ODIHR will publish the final report that usually contains the recommendations of this organization. How will these recommendations be considered?
By its preliminary report, the ODIHR has once again demonstrated that the objective description of the electoral process in Azerbaijan, as required by the mandate of the organization, is not in the scope of its interests. The report of the mission once again plays the role of a tool for political pressure on our country. Just this time the whole absurdity of the document is so obvious that it cannot be taken seriously. The recommendations based on such reports cannot be taken seriously, too.
Azerbaijan has always been committed to its obligations to international organizations, including the OSCE/ODIHR. But if one of the parties uses these commitments in order to exert political pressure on the other side, in my opinion, we need to think about whether we need to continue our co-operation with the ODIHR.