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Final Report, 22 May

GISDI Final Report​

(Download the full Final Report in PdF)
       Results of GISDI overall observation of Republic of Azerbaijan Presidential Elections, held on 11 April 2018 show that they were conducted in accordance with the principles of free and fair democratic elections, thus expressing the free will of people and protecting their political and civil rights. The organization and conduct of the Presidential elections were in conformity with the fundamental freedoms:
  • freedom of expression and media – all candidates had equal free or payed access to media. The media is free to decide the forms of their participation in election campaign. We have not observed cases of violation of the right of voters to express freely their will;
  • freedom of assembly – the electoral legislative frame allows free conduct of pre-election rallies and other events; list of approved venues was published in due time on CEC`s website;
  • freedom of association – there are approximately 60 political parties, more than 4 500 non-governmental organizations and more than 5 000 mass media outlets; the political parties are allowed to run in elections independently or in blocs of parties;
  • freedom of movement – voters have right to vote in a different PEC than their home registration using the mechanism of de-registration cards;
  • freedom from discrimination – on the base of race, nationality, religion and cultural tradition of communities.
       The legal electoral framework of Republic of Azerbaijan complies with most international standards for free and fair elections and reflects national context.

       Еlection managing bodies and electoral administration have made every effort to raise the level of transparency of electoral process; to set up clear and feasible requirements for candidates' nomination and registration; to educate and empower voters to exercise their voting rights.

       The total number of voters, included in the final integral voter list was  5 332 817.

       Voters were provided with an opportunity to check their registration in the preliminary voter lists online – on the website of CEC, by telephone, or in person at the respective PEC.

       Voter list had been updated 40 days before the e-day and during the electoral campaign. The overall process of maintenance and update of the lists was transparent and well organized. The voter list  had been updated with the citizens’ active participation, not only upon PECs’ and CEC’s initiative.

       41 polling stations were established in 32 foreign countries regarding the Presidential Elections in Azerbaijan.

       Voters’ education and information of voters in Azerbaijan is responsibility of the electoral administration. CEC and some nongovermental organizations have been conducting a set of different projects with the aim to rise voters’ education and empower them to make informative choice and exercise their civil right to vote.

       8 candidates have been registered in these elections. The procedure and requirements for nomination, approvement and registration of candidates are fully and clearly set out in the law. We consider that all fundamental democratic principles have been respected as well as the referent norms and procedures in the Election Code in the procedure of registration of candidates.

      Some of the parties boycotted the elections. However, their boycott did not hinder the overall electoral process. They have done no significant activities against the rulling party, decisions and instructions of CEC, managing bodies in electoral process, as well as no significant mass public rallies or demonstrations.

      Women in Azerbaijan enjoy the right to vote since 1918. In general, women participation in politics is lower than of men. No women contested this elections.The female dominance in PECs was obvious. Most of the PECs members were women, women were most of the PECs chaires. 

      The pre-election campaign commenced 23 days prior to Election Day and finish 24 hours prior to Election Day. It started on 19 March 2018.

       All candidates were provided with free air time and space in print media to communicate their political programs with voters. Lists of venues for public agitation materials and for meetings, rallies and other election related events were approved and published by CEC.

      There are 2 pre-election rallies, organized by opposition parties. We have not registered any interference or restrictions.

      The media in pre-election campaign were free enough to cover the campaign of all candidates. Print and broadcast media are under the regulation of Election Code. Internet media are not regulated. The candidates were given opportunities for sufficient media presence coverage either free or payed. There were 9 round tables – candidates’ TV debates, on public TV.  No infringement was recorded.

      There have been no complaints and appeals formally filed during the campaign or on the election day. Nor the boycotting parties, nighter the so called “radical opposition” have formally filed complaints.

      On this election we observed an essential step forward in the whole organization and conduct of election process from the perspective of the fundamental criteria for transparency:
  • High number of international and domestic observers - 59 069 (894 international, 58 175 domestic);
  • On-line webcam monitoring of election process – there were cameras in 1 000 PECs;
  • Four parallel Exit Polls, as well as pre-election surveys;
  • Accreditation of 118 journalists and media representatives from 51 international media.
     The election day has passed smoothly. The voting process on election day was well organized. We have not observed cases of tension or intimidation of voters. Our observers have not registered any crowds of voters in or outside the polling stations throughout the e-day, including in the end of the day just before 19.00 o`clock.We have not observed any threat to the free exercise of the people’s voting rights and the organization of the electoral process. On the contrary, the electoral managing bodies in conformity with the Election Code have taken measures to ease voting of voters who by any reason were straitened to vote:
  • There were mobile voting stations in hospitals and other places. Voting at home of voters who have informed the PEC about having health problems was also eased;
  • Mobile ramps have been installed in 1 455 polling stations; stencils in Braille were available;
  • Voters who must travel more than an hour from home to polling station to vote were provided with free public transportation.
        The overall average evaluation of e-day at the observed polling stations, according to the data gathered by our STOs, tends to be “good” or “very good”. Only very few polling stations were evaluated by our observers with “average” or “bad”, and only as exeption as “very bad”. The final tabulation is presented on p. 46.

       The counting process was positively assessed by our observers. They have not indicated any serious problems, including intervention by unauthorized people. Based on the results of observations carried out in 465 polling stations, GISDI concludes that the overall voting and counting process was transparent as no significant violations possibly affecting the outcome of the election were observed.
      The final elections results, announced by CEC, were not surprising. There is an impressive steadiness of the electoral quotas from the presidential elections in 2003 up to date. On the other hand, the ratings, registered in pre-election surveys as well as the results of the four parallel Exit Polls on election day undoubtedly predicted the victory of Ilham Aliyev with 82-87%. He won with 86,02% of valid votes.
*   *   *
       Generally, there are no empirical grounds for arguing that fundamental democratic principles were not preserved on these presidential elections. The opportunity was given to the people of Azerbaijan to make freely their political choice and to vote in a calm atmosphere.
      However, our observers have registered few problems in the electoral campaign, ifringements in voting and counting process, cases of not so good arrangement of PSs rooms. They in their totality do not provide any sufficient ground for cummulated negative assessment of electoral process as a whole.
      Taking into account various considerations and opinions of its observers, GISDI have outlined some concrete recommendations for further amendments and improvement of election process in Republic of Azerbaijan.

On 22 May 2018 GISDI presented the FINAL PEPORT.


     Voter Lists Verification and Update, Education and Empowerment

     Nomination, Approvement and Registration
     Media System, Regulation, Payed or Editorial Coverage of Campaign

      Organisation, Atmosphere and Overall Assessment

      Domestic observers, Domestic and International Observation Missions    


      16.1.  Presidential Electons Results, 11 April 2018
      16.2.  Presidential Elections in Azerbaijan – time series ‘2003-2018
      16.3.  Nomination, Approvement and Registration of Candidates
      16.4.  Requirements for Candidacy and Deadlines
      16.5.  Voter Turnout during Election Day
      16.6.  Central Election Commission Composition


The Final Report both in English and Azerbaijani could be downloaded from here.
​The English version of the report is the only official document.
Republic of Azerbaijan Presidential Elections, 11 April 2018 - FINAL REPORT

GISDI Final Report​, 22 May 2018 (English) 344 Kb (pdf) свали
GISDI Final Report​, 22 May 2018 (Azerbaijani) 634 Kb (pdf) свали

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