No free and fair elections in Azerbaijan
Schwabe comments presidential election
The spokesman for human rights and humanitarian aid of the SPD parliamentary group Frank Schwabe, who was also active as election observer for the Council of Europe, commented on the presidential election in Azerbaijan:
"The presidential election in Azerbaijan was anything but free and fair. The electoral violations on Election Day were also massive. From the filling of the ballot boxes with filled-in ballots, to multiple voting, massive police presence around some polling stations as well as ordered local election observers everything was represented to an exceptionally high degree.
But that's not the problem. It is the political and social environment that does not allow for free and fair elections. The opposition is suppressed, the state and private media are controlled, critics are in jail, critical homepages are blocked. In such a situation, an election is forced to become a farce with organized opponents, even if many international election observers maintain something else. The Joint Election Mission of the OSCE and the Council of Europe provides a more realistic picture of the situation in its statement.
If Azerbaijan wanted to be an equal and respected member of the European family and of the international community, it would have to take a completely different route and embark on a new and serious dialogue with, inter alia, the Council of Europe. It would have to implement the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights rapidly, and take the recommendations of the Venice Commission seriously. Unfortunately, there is no sign of such a change in mind before and after this election."