Media Contact: Shelly Han
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), made the following statement in response to the election results announced in Azerbaijan today:
“The conduct of the presidential election, as monitored and reported by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), was deemed to fall far short of its internationally-recognized election standards. The problems stem not only from the ballot stuffing and counting irregularities on election day itself, but also were apparent over the past year as the opposition was continually harassed and detained, and independent media faced severe restrictions on reporting. The Government of Azerbaijan made it clear that it was only interested in going through the motions of a democratic election and not holding a true electoral contest. It’s disappointing to see Azerbaijan waste another opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to pursuing democratic progress.”
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 57 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.