February 9, 2020, early parliamentary elections took place in an unfavorable political environment, where the dominant party absolutely used administrative resources and political dialogue between real political forces did not exist.
During the elections, there was no decrease in serious restrictions on political rights and freedoms of activity, persecution and pressure on political opponents. Since 2013, civil society institutions, independent media, and opposition organizations have become targets for pressure policies. The process also took place in an environment where more than 100 political prisoners were still in prison.
Freedom of assembly was strictly limited throughout the country, and The CEC has compiled a list of 272 places in total, one open and one closed for each election constituency during the pre-election campaign. However, in the 2010 parliamentary elections, there were 4,930 places in total, with 2,676 open and 2,254 closed places. Thus, compared to the situation in 2010, the opportunities were limited approximately 18 times.
Proposals of The OSCE / ODIHR and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe for election legislation were not accepted. The decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on elections have not been implemented except for individual compensations. On the contrary, as a result of amendments and additions to the Election Code in recent years, the implementation of a number of electoral actions has become more difficult, serious restrictions on candidate registration and pre-election campaign have occurred.
Political parties are institutionally excluded from functionality and there is no legal and actual environment for their activities.
The inconsistency over the number of voters, which is more than 2 million, between the State Statistical Committee and the Central Election Commission with regard to the voter lists continued.
The period of nomination and registration of candidates during the parliamentary elections was accompanied by violations. Violation of the principles of transparency and equality in relation to candidates in the activity of election commissions, forcing to write petitions for withdrawal from candidacy in mass, pressures to election participants, abuse of administrative resources, as well as external interferences occurred in the activity of election commissions on 78 constituencies. It resulted in the creation of a non-alternative environment in 40 constituencies.
During the pre-election campaign in the parliamentary elections, equal and competitive political conditions among the political parties, including candidates, were not provided.
When considering the pre-election environment, the situation faced by independent media was of particular concern. TVs in the country have been completely controlled by the ruling political power.
IDI has conducted long-term monitoring to assess the media's performance in the elections and has twice released the results. These reports indicated that the media had a biased approach to the issues, especially that the news and programs of the electronic media inevitably conducted a campaign in favor of the government and its supporters.
Pressure and threats were recorded against the parties involved in the electoral process, especially opposition political parties, independent candidates, voters, and observers.
Of the 60 complaints filed to the CEC, 41 were rejected as unfounded. 23 cases were considered by the Court of Appeal and 18 by the Supreme Court and none were ensured on the merits. No comprehensive and impartial investigations on complaints have been made.
Numerous violations were reported at polling stations on the voting day, in particular, multiple voting by a single person, using multiple bulletins, and involvement of persons, who were not registered as voters in the constituency, in mass voting. The process of counting and protocoling of votes was carried out with serious violations; hence, the legal results of the voting were under suspicion.
Official data on voter turnout on election day raised serious doubts and voter activity was artificially inflated in most polling stations;
February 9, 2020, parliamentary elections were not free, fair, transparent, and democratic. At all stages of the election, mainly the pre-election political environment, the nomination and registration of candidates, and the generalization of the pre-election campaign period show that this election took place in the absence of a competitive and genuine election campaign.
Violations recorded in elections, especially those that occurred during election day and during the counting and protocoling of votes, prevented free and fair elections. Thus, the parliamentary elections were not held in accordance with local legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan and international standards.
The state bodies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and especially the political authorities, have not established the political will to ensure free, fair, and democratic conduct of this election. Thus, these elections cannot be considered as a process that reflects the true will of the Azerbaijani people.