Paul Wille

The head of PACE mission.

Paul Wille: “I have not heard about serious problems during the elections. Azerbaijan is really the country that stands on the way of democratization.” Source:





The head of PACE mission Paul Wille: “Azerbaijan is on the right path of democratization”

“Compared with previous years, the electoral process in Azerbaijan takes place in a peaceful atmosphere, and this is the true way of democratization”,- said the head of the PACE observation mission Paul Wille in an interview with journalists, AZERTAC reports.

“I have not heard about serious problems during the elections”,- said Paul Wille,- “Azerbaijan is really the country that stands on the way of democratization”.

Paul Wille also noted that the opposition did not present its program during the pre-election debate.

“They did not present any real proposals to citizens, they did not say anything about their program”,- he said.

Answering the question about the correspondence of the elections to the world practice, he noted: “We were only watching. We are not judges. From a technical point of view, the organization of elections by the Central Election Commission corresponds to international standards. “


Astonishing inconsistencies in the Assessments of Elections in Azerbaijan

The assessments of the missions of international observers for the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan, which took place on November 7, caused many questions in Baku. The voting was monitored by 1,029 international observers presenting 21 organizations, in particular the PACE, OSCE / ODIHR, the European Academy for Election Observation, CIS, IPA CIS, as well as many representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in the country.

The elections went smoothly. There were no rallies, no violations of law and order. Observation missions freely visited polling stations, communicated with observers and voters. Apparently, the general calm and peaceful atmosphere of the elections enabled some foreign observers, as well as the heads of large missions, to give some assessments of the ongoing process even before the end of the election process.

At a briefing on November 7, the deputy chairman of the Federation Council, coordinator of the IPA CIS observer group Svetlana Orlova noted: “The elections are held at a high level and openly enough, I would especially like to note the excellent technical equipment of the sites and the work of people who work in these areas.”

On the same day, the head of the PACE observation mission, Paul Wille, shared his impressions of the election process: “I have not heard about serious problems in the elections. Azerbaijan is a country that stands on the path of democratization”. He also spoke about the problems that the PACE long-term mission noted, among which is the process of registration of candidates. At the same time, Wille stressed that the opposition camp did not present its program during the pre-election debates.

The next day, at a joint press conference, representatives of the PACE, OSCE PA, OSCE / ODIHR and European Parliament missions assessed the vote positively. Observers of the OSCE mission noted serious efforts on the part of the authorities to ensure a fair course of elections. “There was a peaceful atmosphere compared to the previous parliamentary elections, there were no incidents”,- said the head of the OSCE PA’s long-term mission, Wolfgang Grossruck. Approximately the same spirit was expressed by the heads of other observation missions, noting some shortcomings in the electoral process, mainly concerning the election campaign. At the same time, the observers did not have any comments concerning the elections themselves or the situation directly on the voting day. On the contrary, in the published conclusion of the observation mission of the European Academy for Election Observation, it was noted that there were no cases of interference by representatives of local executive authorities and police in the voting process recorded by observers in previous elections.

In the statement of the Council of Europe on November 9, also is saidthat the elections were calm, and all opposition parties participated in the political process.

Considering this, too negative assessments of the electoral process were not expected in Baku, so the statement of the USA State Department was unexpected. The official representative of the State Department Philip Crowley, noting that the elections in Azerbaijan were “peaceful, they involved all opposition parties and also observers from different local groups and from the international community,” stated: “Nevertheless, the elections did not meet international standards”.  Crowley also said that the State Department notes solidarity with the view of OSCE observers that the conduct of elections did not meet democratic standards. At the same time, the State Department did not focus on the technical aspects of elections, and violations of the pre-election process (including centralized registration and the involvement of a record number of local observers), but on serious problems in the pre-election process and on election day itself. On election day, the statement notes, international observers noted serious violations of the procedure, including the filling of ballot boxes with false ballots.

Crowley’s statement was immediately reacted by the Azeri Foreign Ministry, which accused that “the statement of the US State Department is surprising and regrettable in Azerbaijan “.  The State Department’s assessing statements of elections process in different countries, as a rule, do not differ much from the assessments given by these authoritative international organizations. At the same time, in assessing statements of the elections given by the OSCE ODIHR, the PACE, the OSCE PA, the European Parliament, “there are no assessments similar to the results given by the State Department.” Such discrepancies in the assessments of the majority of international observers and 30 representatives of the embassy raise questions about the fairness of the statement of the State Department.

In addition, it is not clear whether the assessment of the State Department’s elections differs from the assessment of 45 Americans who were part of the OSCE / ODIHR mission and why violations they observed at the polling stations on election day were not reflected in the ODIHR mission assessments.