“I observed the Azerbaijani presidential elections under the OSCE PA shot-term mission. As my other colleagues at the Parliamentary Assembly, I also visited a number of polling stations. We conducted observations at the polls in Baku and surrounding areas together with the Slovakian delegation and participated in the counting of ballots. Personally, my impression was very positive,” said Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Georgian MP George Tsereteli, who attended the OSCE PA session in Budva, Montenegro.
“I consider that the elections were well-organized and the commissions worked properly during the election process. We have a good experience on observation, often when the commission can not organize its work properly, it can not respond to our questions. But the situation was completely different here, they answered all of our questions accurately. Moreover, I saw several pro-opposition observers at the polling stations and had a talk with them. It seemed that they had enough opportunities to control the process. Web-cameras were installed at the polling stations, this is also a form of control and irregularities could be seen via web-cameras.”
The Vice-President of the OSCE PA said that he positively assesses the process in general and was surprised at the very negative opinions of his colleagues from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR): “I understand that there were shortcomings in the elections, but it is impossible to know everything precisely. Surely, there is a need to improve some procedures in vote counting, I accept it. But it does not mean that the entire election process was negative. Our colleagues from Germany and France thoroughly reported in this regard at the meeting yesterday. They didn`t deny the existence of shortcomings, but they stressed that the process was positive in general.”
“Generally, ODIHR is always distinguished with its tough critics, has always pursued the policy to notice only negative. In our short-term mission this issue is different. We are politicians and should say objectively what we see, both negative and positive aspects… Therefore, I think assessing the elections in Azerbaijan, of course, we should say what irregularities were observed. Maybe there were some irregularities before the elections and on the election day and they should be eliminated. But it was not right to criticize only the election day. Both positive steps and shortcomings should be noted. This is how the right and objective approach should be. The elections held in Azerbaijan made a very positive impression on the members of OSCE PA and we regard these elections as the next progress,” noted Georgian MP George Tsereteli.