U.S. Department of State
Statement by Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman
Azerbaijan: Disqualification of Opposition Parties
The U.S. government regrets the action by Azerbaijani authorities to disqualify two of the country's four major opposition parties from submitting proportional candidate lists in parliamentary elections scheduled for November 5. The exclusion is based on a decision of the Central Election Commission (CEC) that signatures on the Musavat and Azerbaijan Democratic Parties' registration documents had been falsified. The Azerbaijan Court of Appeals has refused to overturn the CEC's decision. The Musavat party was prevented from contesting 1995 parliamentary elections under similar circumstances. We understand that both parties are now investigating the possibility of making an appeal to Azerbaijan's Supreme Court.
The exclusion of two major opposition parties from fielding national proportional lists seriously jeopardizes the potential for the conduct of "free and fair" parliamentary elections in November. The participation of all major opposition parties is essential in offering the voters of Azerbaijan a real choice. We urge Azerbaijani authorities to act to allow candidates of these parties to compete through proportional lists as well as in majority constituencies in the upcoming elections.
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