IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The EaP CSF appeals for unbiased judgement by PACE observers of Presidential elections in Azerbaijan and Georgia
With presidential elections due in October in Azerbaijan and Georgia, the CSF has appealed to leaders of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to choose unbiased and honest election observers for its observation groups. The Bureau of the PACE will be selecting a 30 person team on 2 September. The team leaders have already been appointed. The group due to go to Azerbaijan will be headed by Robert Walter, a British MP, who is a member of the Conservative Friends of Azerbaijan, a pro government lobby. He has been a member of PACE election observation teams in Azerbaijan in 2005 as well as in 2006, 2008 and 2010. Each of these elections was marred by accusations of vote rigging. A damning account of the 2010 election was published by the European Stability Initiative (ESI) under the title Caviar Diplomacy in 2012. The head of the team due to go to Georgia is Meritxell Mateu Pi, a Liberal politician from Andorra.
Krzysztof Bobinski, CSF steering committee co-chair, reminds PACE in the appeals that voters in both Azerbaijan and Georgia will be expecting an unbiased judgement from parliamentary observers. If they fail to get such a judgement then trust in European parliamentary institutions will plummet.
Please find the letter written to Mr Mignon, President of PACE, here.