MEPs McAllister and McAvan, the co-chairs of the European Parliament’s Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group, announced in a recent statement that the European Parliament will not observe the presidential elections in Russia and Azerbaijan. Any observation or comment on the electoral process will be at the own initiative of MEPs, as the Parliament will adopt an official position until it releases its report on EU-Azerbaijani relations before the summer recess.
In a comment, Anar Mammadli, head of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre, said it would be better if the EU observed the elections on 11 April.
“Azerbaijan is currently discussing a partnership agreement with the European Union. Azerbaijan is a member of the Eastern Partnership. The EU therefore needs to assess the situation with human rights, elections and democratic institutions, and observe the 11 April snap election.”
Anar Mammadli believes the EU made this decision because it does not want to damage its relationship with Baku.
“They have refrained from expressing a negative opinion about the 11 April snap elections due to ongoing talks with Baku.”
Kestutis Jankauskas, head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan, told reporters in February that the EU would rely on the expertise and standards of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
“Azerbaijan sent invitations to international organizations of which it is a member. For this reason, the EU did not receive an invitation. The EU relies on the expertise of the OSCE and ODIHR. I know that they have already received an invitation and are looking into it. They need to assess all details.”