OSCE/ODIHR final report on Azerbaijan presidential election

More needs to be done to guarantee a level playing field for candidates and improve the electoral process, says the final report by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on the 9 October 2013 presidential election in Azerbaijan.

The report, released on 24 December 2013, recommends measures to enhance the conduct of elections in Azerbaijan and to bring national legislation in line with international standards. A publicly inclusive review of the current legal framework for freedom of assembly, expression and association is among the suggested measures. The Election Code should be amended through an inclusive process to revise the composition of election commissions at all levels, with the aim of enhancing impartiality and public confidence.

The report also recommends that the timeline for elections be extended to provide greater opportunities for the participation of potential candidates, as well as the effective administration of elections and the resolution of complaints.

It also encourages the development of comprehensive instructions regulating all aspects of verifying and updating voter lists, while authorities are asked to undertake further measures to ensure that election campaigning be conducted in an atmosphere free from intimidation and fear of retribution.

The right of voters to receive comprehensive and diverse information about political alternatives through the media should be addressed by the Election Code and authorities should consider decriminalizing defamation, the report says.

The report adds that political determination is needed to improve the integrity of the electoral process by preventing serious violations, such as ballot box stuffing and alterations of results protocols.

Full text of the report is available here or in an attachment below.