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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
Press Statement


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Statement by Richard Boucher, Spokesman
November 7, 2000

Parliamentary Elections in Azerbaijan

The United States regrets that the November 5 parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan failed to meet international standards. An International Election Observer Mission, comprised of representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe, issued its assessment on November 6. The assessment, consistent with our own judgment, noted that these elections "constituted progress over previous elections," but fell short of international standards for democratic elections and stated that "significant improvements will have to be achieved in order to meet such standards."

We note some progress: for the first time, opposition candidates were represented on election commissions at all levels and candidates from all parties were allowed to contest seats on the proportional ballot and to actively campaign. However, there were serious deficiencies. Half the candidates in single mandate districts were disqualified. In a step back from earlier practice, the government severely restricted the accreditation of domestic observers. Some international observers were denied access to polling stations on election day. Others witnessed evidence of serious irregularities including ballot stuffing. International observers reported irregularities in the vote tabulation process, which the Election Observer Mission assessment labeled "completely flawed."

The United States calls on Azerbaijani authorities to immediately investigate and correct all violations of election procedures in a thorough and transparent manner. We welcome news that results have already been cancelled in one election district where serious violations took place. The United States stands ready to work with Azerbaijan to assist in this process.

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