September 18, Azerbaijan’s National Parliament announced its decision to skip this year’s OSCE Parliamentary Assembly autumn session taking place in Ulaanbaatar. The head of Azerbaijan’s delegation Bahar Muradova, called the meeting “meaningless” especially after OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) decision not to send observers for the upcoming parliamentary elections.
On September 11, Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE ODIHR, announced the organization’s decision to cancel its mission to observe the November 1st parliamentary elections due to the restrictions imposed by the Azerbaijani authorities.
“The restriction on the number of observers taking part would make it impossible for the mission to carry out effective and credible election observation,” the ODIHR Director said. “Regretfully, we are compelled by these actions to cancel the deployment of ODIHR’s observation mission for the parliamentary elections” read the announcement.
“The Azerbaijani authorities’ insistence on a restricted number of observers is directly counter to the country’s OSCE commitments and in contradiction to ODIHR’s election observation mandate,” added Link.
In response to ODIHR’s needs assessment mission sent to the country recommending deployment of an election mission with a core team of experts, 30 long-term observers and 350 short-term observers, the Azerbaijan’s Permanent Mission to the OSCE said the authorities were ready to accept only 6 long-term and up to only 125 short-term ODIHR observers.
Azerbaijan's parliamentary elections are scheduled for November 1, 2015