The Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDS) has noted that restrictions on the freedom of peaceful assembly, association, and expression continue in Azerbaijan ahead of the early Parliamentary elections on 9 February and that the current Election Code does not provide for a genuine competitive environment.
EMDS observed numerous violations during the period of nomination and registration of candidates noting that this has been characteristic of all Parliamentary elections held since 2005. Mostly, those violations happened against opposition party members and independent candidates who have been intimidated and pressured by local executive authorities, election commissions or places of work to withdraw their candidacies.
During the pre-election campaign period, EMDS observed cases of pressure being applied on civil society, political activists, candidates, and their relatives in both stages of the early Parliamentary elections. The government also failed to demonstrate any political will to release more than 100 people who are in jail with politically motivated charges as a result of increased political repression over the last few years.
Similar restrictions were observed during the Municipal elections of 23 December 2019, which EMDS determined to be an election marred by a lack of alternative choices since the majority of opposition representatives and activists did not take part in the elections.