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OSCE’s decision on Azerbaijan election monitors ‘obviously politicized’ — Russian diplomat

October 30, 2015, 14:36 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Azerbaijan is preparing to hold on November 1 its fifth parliamentary elections since the country became sovereign after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991

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MOSCOW, October 30. /TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry believes that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) decision against sending its monitors to the parliamentary election in Azerbaijan this Sunday was obviously politicized, a senior Russian diplomat said on Friday.

Russian Foreign Ministry Ombudsman for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov said addressing lawmakers in the Russian parliament’s upper chamber, the Federation Council, that "in response to Azerbaijani authorities request to cut the number of international monitors, whose number was excessive, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights made an obviously politicized decision not sending there observers at all."

Azerbaijan is preparing to hold on November 1 its fifth parliamentary elections since the country became sovereign after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. According to the Central Election Commission, 5.1 million citizens are eligible for the elections.

Candidates have been nominated by 15 parties and one party coalition. The ruling Eni Azerbaijan (New Azerbaijan) party is considered to be the favorite to place first in the elections.

According to analysts, its representatives are more than likely to win the elections. The party has nominated candidates in 116 of 125 constituencies, and most of them have good chances for success. This is confirmed by the surveys conducted by Arthur J. Finkelstein & Associates of the United States and France’s OpinionWay.

According to the former, 74.7% of those polled are going to vote for the candidates from New Azerbaijan. The survey conducted by the French sociologists has shown that 71.7% of voters would cast their votes for representatives of the ruling party and the parties supporting it.

Experts believe that New Azerbaijan’s ranking is determined to a large extent by the popularity of its leader, President Ilham Aliyev. Opinion polls show that 82% of the population evaluate his activities as "good" or "excellent."

The fact that the authorities managed to ensure economic growth and protect Azerbaijan from social upheavals amid the sharp drop in oil prices adds to Aliyev’s popularity. Not a single social program has been curtailed.

According to Arthur J.Finkelstein & Associates, Azerbaijani voters do not want changes, especially against the backdrop of developments in the Middle East and in a number of post-Soviet states.

The united moderate opposition will take part in the elections - the Azadlyg-2015 (Freedom-2015) bloc comprises 7 liberal parties. The largest number of candidates has been nominated by the United People’s Front of Azerbaijan, Musavat and Umid parties.

Meanwhile, the irreconcilable opposition represented by the People’s Front of Azerbaijan party and the National Council of Democratic Forces said it would boycott the elections.

The Central Election Commission, reported earlier that the elections will be monitored by up to 500 international observers from 53 countries. This is twice less than during the 2010 elections. The preliminary election results will be available overnight on November 2.

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