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Press Statement by Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman
June 13, 2000

Azerbaijan: Central Election Commission Legislation

On June 9, Azerbaijan's parliament passed a new law on the Central Election Commission (CEC). The OSCE's Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has declared that the new law is in line with international standards. We concur with the OSCE's assessment that the law is a significant improvement over previous legislation, commend the Government of Azerbaijan for its cooperation with the OSCE in drafting the law and urge the government to ensure that this legislation is implemented in a fully transparent and democratic manner.

Substantial compromise was involved in reaching agreement on the composition of the Central Election Commission. Major opposition parties in Azerbaijan have expressed some dissatisfaction with the new law. We support the OSCE's efforts to engage both the government and opposition in a constructive dialogue resulting in election legislation that conforms to international standards.

The elections this fall will be a critical step in Azerbaijan's path to democracy. We hope the government will build on the progress achieved in passage of the CEC law and create conditions for the elections to be held in a free and fair manner. With the CEC law passed, we urge the government and all political forces in the country to cooperate fully with the OSCE in drafting a parliamentary election law that meets international standards. We also urge the government to guarantee fair and equal media coverage for all groups participating in the elections; to allow opposition groups to demonstrate peacefully; to ensure that the vote count is conducted transparently and election results are published in a timely manner, and to develop a fair and transparent grievance process.

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