Azerbaijan’s November 1 vote was no cliffhanger, with President Ilham Aliyev’s Yeni (New) Azerbaijan Party, or YAP, winning as it has all parliamentary elections since 1996. What was different this year is that the region’s standard election-observation group, from the OSCE/ODIHR, was not there to assess the quality of the vote in an environment some Western human-rights watchdogs argue has gone from bad to worse.
The absence of these observers appeared to clear the stage for a variety of positive assessments — something entirely natural, in the government’s view.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) refused to send its observation mission after Azerbaijani authorities restricted the number of observers that could be sent. The observers have never deemed an Azerbaijani vote up to international standards.
But senior presidential advisor Ali Hasanov, for one, did not miss them.
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