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Monday, November 07, 2005

Azeri Opposition Calls for Street Protests Against 'Election Violations'

Photo from www.azerphoto.com07.11.2005 15:39 MSK MosNews - Azerbaijan's opposition has dismissed claims by President Ilham Aliyev that Sunday's elections had gone smoothly and promised to organize large public rallies. According to official data, with just over 90 percent of votes counted, the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party had won over 50 percent of the seats in the 125-seat parliament, while the main Azadlyq opposition bloc had only two seats. The opposition said it had evidence of 21,104 voting irregularities in 113 of the country's 125 constituencies. One of Azadlyq's leaders, head of the Popular Front party, Ali Kerimli, quoted by The Independent, said, "this election did not reflect the will of the Azeri people. It was totally falsified. Now we will start the constitutional non-violent struggle for the invalidation of these elections." Azadlyq said a 21,000-strong army of observers had witnessed more than 1,500 instances of local authorities instructing voters to support pro-government candidates and almost 1,300 examples of ballot stuffing and claimed that a new anti-fraud system to ink voters' thumbs with ultra-violet markings had been abused on more than 1,700 occasions. "These were the most falsified elections in Azeri history," the bloc's campaign manager, Panakh Guseinov, said. The opposition has planned a rally in the Azeri capital of Baku on Wednesday. It demands that new elections be held. Kerimli also said he wanted all parties and candidates whose rights had been violated during the elections to unite.

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