Elkhan Suleymanov: International organizations are alarmed that OSCE/ODIHR is alone on the stage

I’d like to express my opinion regarding the election process and its results. Thus, some forces still try to question the results of the Presidential elections in Azerbaijan by making constant attempts.

 

First of all, it should be noted that the elections were observed not only by Observation Missions of influential international organizations like the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), European Parliament (EP), but also by the Observation Mission of OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR). In total, over 50 thousand local observers and about 1400 international observers from almost 100 countries of different regions in the world observed these presidential elections. The international observers represented all regions of the world, including the USA and most European countries.

I’d like to express my opinion regarding the election process and its results. Thus, some forces still try to question the results of the Presidential elections in Azerbaijan by making constant attempts.

 

First of all, it should be noted that the elections were observed not only by Observation Missions of influential international organizations like the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), European Parliament (EP), but also by the Observation Mission of OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR). In total, over 50 thousand local observers and about 1400 international observers from almost 100 countries of different regions in the world observed these presidential elections. The international observers represented all regions of the world, including the USA and most European countries.

 

I’d like also to stress that all observation missions and observation groups, except OSCE/ODIHR Observation Mission, evaluated 9 October elections as free, transparent, and fair elections and progress towards democracy.

 

Observation Missions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and European Parliament (EP) adopted joint statement on the results of the elections. Observation missions of PACE and European Parliament stated that «electoral procedures on the eve and on election day have been carried out in a free, fair and transparent way in accordance with PACE and OSCE standards»,stressing that «They did not come to Azerbaijan to give lessons or to measure the rate of democratic development in the country but rather to witness and encourage the transition process towards democracy that the country is experiencing».The joint statement also highlighted that they appreciated Azerbaijan for having a large presence of national and international observers, that electoral procedures on the eve and on election day have been carried out in a professional and peaceful way, that they did not witness any evidence of intimidation against voters, in or close to polling stations, that there was no presence of police around polling stations, and that a more open electoral debate was organized compared to past elections.

 

One of the points of attention is that the position of OSCE PA Observation Mission regarding the results of elections coincide with positions of PACE and European Parliament. This position is reflected in the statement of Mr. Michel Voisin, Special Coordinator of OSCE Chairman-in-Office and Head of OSCE Observation Mission on October 10. Mr. Voisin stresses in his statement that «this election campaign made democratic progress possible through the number of candidates, open television campaign to all candidates, participation of over 72% voters in the elections, good organization by Central Election Commission, and transparency». Head of OSCE Observation Mission underlines that the elections were transparent, free and fair, and therefore, he fully joins the statements by PACE and European Parliament. Mr. Voisin also stated that OSCE/ODIHR report did not reflect positive opinions on elections noted by OSCE PA observers and short-term election observers.

 

We welcome the fact that Mr. Leonid Kozhara, OSCE Chairman-in-Office made a statement on the election results. Mr. Kozhara stated that he appreciated a large number of influential international observers, including OSCE, Council of Europe, European Union, CIS, as well as a lot of delegations from OSCE Participating States. L.Kozhara drew the attention to the statement by Special Coordinator of OSCE Chairman, joint statement by CoE and EP Delegations, as well as statements of international observers and stressed that according to these statements, several aspects of Presidential elections in Azerbaijan show progress towards meeting OSCE and CoE principles and other international standards on democratic elections.

 

At the same time, regretfully, the evaluation of OSCE/ODIHR observation mission regarding the election results was completely different. It is remarkable that Mr. Michel Voisin, Head of OSCE PA Observation Mission refused to the claims in the report regarding the preparation of the document as if thanks to joint efforts of OSCE/ODIHR and OSCE PA at the Standing Committee meeting. Mr. Voisin unambiguously states that members of OSCE PA Observation Mission did not participate in the preparation of the document. As Head of OSCE PA Observation Mission, he himself attended the discussion, but not the preparation of the document and refused its adoption.

 

The other remarkable point is the fact that the report by OSCE/ODIHR Observation Mission notes only negative provisions regarding the election process, and they’re not grounded with evidences. For example, the report contains absurd claims like «intimidation of candidates and voters», and these claims are not grounded. The negative evaluation of election process in 11% of polling stations is also questionable. Thus, OSCE/ODIHR Observation Mission included only 280 observers and there are more than5300 polling stations in Azerbaijan. If we believe in claims, ODIHR observers noted irregularities in vote counting in almost 600 polling stations. It is questionable that 280 observers attended in the election process and vote counting in 600 polling stations.

 

I would like to draw attention to an issue. At the meeting when CEC chairman Mr. Mazahir Panahov asked the head of ODIHR observation mission to Azerbaijan Tana de Zulueta to substantiate these claims, the head of the mission was not able to present any evidence or proof to confirm the claims.

 

Unfortunately, despite the statements on positive assessment of the elections by PACE, EP, OSCE PA observation missions, many observation groups consisting of OSCE Chairman and observers representing various countries around the world, those who want to exert political pressure on Azerbaijan are based on the OSCE / ODIHR observation mission’s assessment. In this regard I would like to note that, from the political point of view PACE and the European Parliament are more important institutions. These institutions express position and the views of the European Union and House of Human Rights, Council of Europe standing in the center of the European integration process about Azerbaijan. On the other hand, members of PACE, EP and OSCE PA observation missions are prominent public and political figures elected by the voters and representing the national parliaments of their countries, and as a rule, they are people knowledgeable enough about the election process. As usual, the OSCE / ODIHR observation mission’s members are the middle and lower rank officers representing OSCE member-countries, they usually have very little information about the election process, in some cases, they are generally unaware and as a rule, ODIHR minor officials are forced to unconditionally carry out the orders of the high officials. For this reason, in this or any other form they are prone to fall under the influence. Therefore, preference given to the OSCE / ODIHR observation mission’s assessment by certain forces is not understandable.

 

The purpose of OSCE / ODIHR is to sabotage opposition by biased report, thereby creating disturbances it serves to undermine stability in the country and to damage the positive image of Azerbaijan in the world.

 

In connection with the results of the elections, I would like to draw attention to one more issue. The observation mission composed of more than 120 public and political figures, former and current congressmen and senators from USA observed the elections and gave a positive statement.

 

Within the project carried out by Public Union for Civil Society Support of the Development of West-Resource operating directly with the financial support of the Embassy of the United States Ilham Aliyev was elected as the doubtless winner in 450 polling stations covering 69 constituencies, as well as according to the results of monitoring conducted in 6 districts by the coordinator for the northern region of Azerbaijani NGO called Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center  that OSCE / ODIHR referred to in the report, Aliyev was elected in 75 of 125constituencies with 81-85% of votes.

 

At the same time, as a result of exit-polls held by survey company among the top ten in USA “AJF & Associates, İnc.”and France’s “Opinion Way” Research Institute, it was approved that 83.7% and 84.9%, respectively voted for Ilham Aliyev. However, the OSCE / ODIHR did not want to see all these successes.

 

On the eve of elections there were forces trying to disrupt the stability of Azerbaijan under various pretexts. They held a variety of events and tried to put forward alleged claims such as discrimination against different ethnic groups who are citizens of Azerbaijan. In this context, the event named “Presidential Elections in Azerbaijan: What future awaits the Land of Fire?” held on October 3 in the European Parliament organized by member of the Bureau of Euronest PA Gerben Jan Gerbrandy is especially worth mentioning. We are not against any discussions; we are in favor of the solution of the existing problems through discussions.

 

However, the feature of the event organized by Gerben Jan Gerbrandy was that opposition members and representatives of national minorities had been mostly invited to this event. Absurd claims were put forward in this event about the alleged problems with national minorities in Azerbaijan.

 

Despite any slander and calumny, I should especially emphasize a well-known fact that Azerbaijan is a country inhabited by many ethnic and religious groups, throughout the history there was neither ethnic, nor religious conflicts in this country. Azerbaijan is one of the countries that are shown as an example of national, ethnic, religious tolerance. In general, addressing the Azerbaijan’s evil-wishers I would like to say with pride that throughout the history in my country Azerbaijan such concepts as “national minorities”, “religious minorities” were not political or social issue, we have faced with these concepts only in the process of European integration, not during the Soviet Union. These allegations can only be regarded as the political pressure on the country.

 

An influential international organization called The European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center operating in Brussels, the administrative center of Europe expressed opinion with analytical materials on biased election assessment in 3 initial and interim reports of the OSCE / ODIHR. Those statements can be viewed at www.esisc.org website.

 

OSCE / ODIHR’s biased, not based on facts report has one purpose – to carry out the instructions of officials who are higher in rank and to serve to ensure the interests of the power states, to create a negative image of Azerbaijan in the international arena, to induce Azerbaijan with slander and libel to refuse from territories occupied for a period of more than 20 years. However, these forces must understand the known truth that the government of Azerbaijan will continue pursuing its own independent policies without paying attention to any pressure and threats and as it is right now will maintain leadership role in the region as a leading state.

 

The fact that Ms. Tana de Zulueta, Head of OSCE/ODIHR Observation Mission to Azerbaijan, acts as the defender of democracy and human rights is not clear for me. According to information, her generation (surname) was engaged in human trafficking earlier. They became rich by selling slaves brought from Africa. And human trafficking in democratic society is the biggest crime. There is a saying in Azerbaijan: “Like father, like son”. I disclosed her origin to you. I fully realize that some “democrats”, who cast doubt on Azerbaijan’s achievements, will attack me. I ask those “democrats”: “Would you recognize the children of Lenin, Stalin, Beriya and others, who are founders of Soviet period, as human rights representatives and charge them with task to form the image of any democratic state?…”

 

Elkhan Suleymanov

Chairman of Azerbaijani Delegation to the Euronest PA

Member of the Parliamentary Assemby of the Council of Europe (PACE)

 

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