Preliminary Statement: Results of Observation on Early Presidential Election in Azerbaijan
EMDS observed that the pre-election campaign lacked genuine competition among political forces, diminishing the political engagement in the country and denying voters a real choice among diverse political perspectives, which is essential for a free and fair election.
The organization also identified persistent issues with the election commissions, including unresolved allegations of voter list inaccuracies and obstacles to observer registration and independence. Despite some minor logistical improvements at polling stations, significant problems were noted during voting and counting processes, such as unauthorized voter participation, group voting, local executive interference, multiple voting by individuals, breaches of voting secrecy, and pressure on observers and journalists. These issues were exacerbated by the lack of transparency and openness from some Precinct Election Commissions.
Discrepancies between observed voter turnout and official figures raised concerns about the integrity of the election, with suspicions of artificially inflated turnout through improper practices.
EMDS concluded that the early presidential election on February 7, 2024, was conducted in an environment lacking democratic principles and real political competition, violating national and international standards for free and fair elections.
To end the political stagnation observed around the presidential election dated February 7, 2024, and to foster mutual trust between citizens and the state, the EMDS urges the immediate release political activists and journalists imprisoned on political grounds, the elimination of barriers restricting the operations of political parties, civil society organizations, and independent media, and the improvement of the Electoral Code and election practices based on the recommendations of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the OSCE.