BAKU, February 9 (FENA) – More than 5.3 million registered voters have had the right to exercise their democratic right in more than 5,500 polling stations and vote in early parliamentary elections in the Republic of Azerbaijan, FENA’s journalist reports from Baku.
There are 1,314 Milli Majlis candidates (Parliamentary Assembly). 246 of them were nominated by political parties, of which 11 were electoral groups, and 1,057 people joined the elections on their own initiative.
The polling stations opened at eight o’clock Sunday morning and closed at 7 pm.
Mazahir Panahov, Chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Azerbaijan, said at a press conference ahead of the elections that the election campaign lasted 23 days.
The Caspian Sea-oriented country has just over 10 million inhabitants and almost 90,000 people are accredited to follow the electoral process. These include local observers, foreign parliamentarians, human rights representatives and journalists from 58 countries.
Thus, there are 883 international observers (58 countries from 59 international organizations), 77,790 domestic observers, there are also 35,152 observers from 24 political parties and 2,737 observers from non-governmental organizations. In principle, anyone who wanted to be an observer was allowed to register, Mazahir Panahov explained.
Early elections come after Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev issued an order to dissolve the parliament on December 5 last year, and parliament almost unanimously demanded it after the prime minister resigned.
President Aliyev has been at the helm of the country for 16 years, which is why the country has been accused of an undemocratic electoral process, and that is why they have decided to do everything this time to ensure that whoever wins today is elected in a transparent and democratic manner.
Azerbaijan is, therefore, the first country in the world to set up webcams across 1,000 constituencies covering the entire territory of the country, allowing Internet users to continuously monitor all election day processes from the CEC website without any registration.
About 6,200 people will be the first to vote in Azerbaijan, with the CEC chairman saying that the oldest voter is 126 years of age, her name is Allahverdiya Samargand, and the oldest male voter is Ahmadov Shahverdi, who is 108 years old. Some 99 voters turn 18 on the polling day.
Of the 1,314 candidates, 36 percent are women, a higher percentage than in the last parliamentary elections, but Mahazir Panahov says this is still not a sufficient number of female candidates.
Hde also noted that only 305 candidates are from the ruling New Azerbaijan Party, and although the Election Law does not formally stipulate academic requirements for candidacy, 91 percent of candidates have a university degree.
Also, more than 50 percent of candidates are under 40, while 70 percent are under 50 years of age.