Plans to conduct exit polls during Azerbaijan's November 6 parliamentary poll elections are fueling controversy. Questions have arisen about the impartiality of selected polling organizations and about a paucity of information concerning the sponsors of some of the exit polls.
When the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced plans in early 2005 to fund an exit poll, the project was seen as a key component in a broad strategy to ensure free-and-fair elections and maintain stability. Violent clashes occurred following the country's 2003 presidential election, which opposition leaders say was rigged. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
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Khadija Ismayilova is a freelance journalist based in Baku.