BAKU, Azerbaijan, July 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
The European Parliament risks pre-judging the November Parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan if it heeds calls by its own election group to send no observer mission, according to a prominent Azerbaijani MP.
The EP's Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group has delivered a letter to Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, recommending that there should be no observer mission this year.
But Elkhan Suleymanov MP, head of the Azerbaijan Delegation to Euronest, says the reasons contained in the letter are "slanderous" and its recommendation makes no sense, given that Azerbaijan just last month invited an independent observer mission from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
"The election group (from the EP) seems to imply that we are not ready to receive observer missions when nothing could be further from the truth," Suleymanov said Thursday.
"We have already invited the OSCE, whose report about our 2013 Presidential poll, you may recall, was favourable. In fact, the EP and PACE missions came to the same conclusion, calling the 2013 elections free and fair."
Suleymanov said the letter is just the latest chapter in a campaign to damage Azerbaijan with "slanderous accusations and unproven allegations".
Further, he said, it was part of a clumsy attempt at disinformation, with the letter referring incorrectly to the "Presidential elections on 1st November 2015" instead of parliamentary elections.
Suleymanov has written his own letter to President Schulz, as well as the Chairman of the Development Committee Linda McAvan, and Elmar Brock, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee complaining of this attempt to pre-judge the poll.
More broadly, he believes his country is being punished for remaining engaged with the institutions of Europe while other nations drift away. The EP, he wrote, has lost all goodwill and influence in Ukraine; is close to losing Moldova to the anti-European parties, and "nobody listens to you in Belarus".
After the re-election of President Aliyev in 2013, the European Parliament and PACE observer delegations released a joint statement that found the election to have been a "free, fair and transparent electoral process."
SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor