BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan herald a generational change in the country, paving the way for wide-ranging socio-economic reforms.
Preliminary results released by the Central Election Commission Monday morning showed that the candidates from the ruling New Azerbaijan Party had won a majority of the 125-seat parliament. The result is an endorsement of President Ilham Aliyev's reform agenda, as many of the new members of parliament are dynamic, young politicians who are poised to advance the pace of reforms, modernise Azerbaijan's institutions and diversify its economy.
The elections were monitored by over 77,000 local and 842 international observers representing 56 international organisations from 55 countries.
Bob Blackman, a Conservative British MP, visited seven polling stations. "There was nothing untoward that I could see during the voting process," he said during a press conference Monday morning.
"We felt that everything was done nicely and smoothly," said Nabil Ayad, Director of the Diplomatic Academy of London, who was also a member of the British election observer delegation. "This is part of the democracy building process in this country."
Ettore Licheri, an Italian election observer who is a member of the Italian Senate for the Five Star Movement Party and the Chairperson of the EU Policies Committee, said that the EU sees Azerbaijan as a model that combines Western and Middle Eastern culture, while maintaining peace and wealth. "It is a very young democracy that only gained its independence in 1991 and people were focussed and passionate at the polling stations."
The election results are consistent with an exit poll Sunday overseen by renowned American polling firm Arthur J. Finkelstein & Associates, which found that New Azerbaijan Party candidates won 69 of 125 parliamentary seats.
George Birnbaum, Vice President of Arthur J. Finkelstein & Associates, said 2,106 exit poll workers had been stationed at 1,053 polling stations. "The election results are a clear indication of support for the reform policies of the government that will further advance democratic values in Azerbaijan," Birnbaum said.
Over five million voters were eligible to cast their choice Sunday between 1,324 candidates – among them 299 women – from 19 political parties. More than 1,000 webcams allowed for online monitoring of the polling stations in the vast majority of constituencies.
SOURCE Central Election Commission