When it comes to Azerbaijan’s parliamentary elections on November 1, the numbers tell only a part of the story.
The Central Election Commission says 769 candidates appear on ballots, vying for 125 seats in parliament. The CEC adds that the qualified candidates represent 15 political parties and one coalition. Watchdog groups, however, maintain that the elections offer no real choice because most candidates either directly or indirectly aligned with President Ilham Aliyev’s administration.
An ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression has muzzled virtually all domestic criticism of the Aliyev administration, rights activists contend. “There is simply no real chance of people being able to take part meaningfully in elections while the human rights crackdown continues and Azerbaijan’s few independent voices are being silenced,” John Dalhusien, Amnesty International’s director for Europe and Central Asia said in a statement issued in early October.
To read the full story