The Spanish version of the US “The Huffington Post” newspaper has published an article entitled “Report of the observation mission for presidential election in Azerbaijan” by former US congressman Solomon Ortiz.
In his article, Ortiz told of a cohort of American observers who monitored the presidential election in Azerbaijan. The group was composed of 48 members including former US congressmen, journalists, businessmen, political consultants and other prominent figures.
The American observers were invited to watch the 2013 presidential election in Azerbaijan by the Central-European Group of Political Monitoring non-governmental organization. The author says that Azerbaijani authorities gave a free rein to a group of observers including the choice of polling stations. By visiting over 200 polling stations in Baku and regions of Azerbaijan, members of a group of American observers thoroughly observed and analyzed the election process. Ortiz noted that the observers registered high voter turnout. The procedure provided conditions for the disabled to vote at home. According to him, the journalists of the group were free to observe the election and prepare the report. Installation of over 1000 web cameras enabled everyone elsewhere in the world to follow the voting process.
The author pointed out that the election process has been refined in line with the proposals of the civil society organizations over the past five years and Azerbaijan went to the great lengths to conduct free and fair elections in accordance with international standards. Five years ago, Azerbaijan also took account of Council of Europe Venice Commission’s recommendations and the parliament of Azerbaijan made amendments to the election code. The laws on the freedom of assembly were passed in line with the up-to-date practice in the western countries. Ortiz wrote that a group of observers registered compliance of election procedures with the laws, participation of observes from various political parties and the conduct of exit poll. The American observers did not record any significant irregularities at the polling stations. The group made sure that the election process is transparent.
Ortiz represented the 27th district of the US State of Texas in the congress during 20 years.