Conservative MEP "pleasantly surprised" after monitoring Azerbaijan vote
7th November 2005
A Conservative MEP monitoring parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan said today that he and other MEPs involved were "pleasantly surprised" at the conduct of polling which they observed during Sunday's vote.
Dr Charles Tannock, Conservative foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, was one of seven MEPs monitoring the elections. It was the first time the European Parliament had sent an observer delegation to an election in Azerbaijan.
"I was fully expecting a repeat of the 2003 presidential election, which was widely criticised by international observers as deeply flawed.
"I was pleasantly surprised, along with the other MEP observers, that we observed a well conducted and transparent voting session in all the polling stations we monitored and a subsequent count which was carried out in an exemplary albeit laborious fashion."
"I believe the election augurs well for the future. It appears we will now see a parliament with the presence of significant numbers of opposition and independent MPs. They will be able to scrutinise President Aliyev's government and insist on improvements in democracy, human rights and governance. To date, Azerbaijan has had a relatively poor track record in these respects."