On 11 April, early presidential elections took place in Azerbaijan, resulting in President Ilham Aliyev being re-elected for his fourth term in office. In response to the elections, the EU issued a statement where it referred to the preliminary conclusions made by international election observers commissioned by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
“As noted by the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission (EOM), the Azerbaijani authorities displayed a positive attitude towards international observers, who were able to operate freely, which constitutes a constructive step,” the EU said in its statement.
“According to the EOM, the election took place within a restrictive political environment and under laws that curtail fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of assembly, expression and media. On the day of the elections, observers reported widespread disregard for mandatory procedures, a lack of transparency and numerous serious irregularities.”
The EU said it expects the Azerbaijani authorities to take on board and implement the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR in relation to the recent and previous elections. It said it stands ready to assist in this process.
“The EU looks forward to continuing dialogue and working closely with Azerbaijan, including with a view to addressing fundamental issues of democracy and human rights during the renewed term in office of the President, for the benefit of the people of Azerbaijan and EU-Azerbaijan relations,” the statement concluded.
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