In response to an invitation from the Government of Azerbaijan, ODIHR deployed an election observation mission on 5 September to observe the 6 November parliamentary elections.
Headed by Ambassador Geert-Hinrich Ahrens of Germany, the mission included an 18-member core team based in Baku, as well as 30 long-term observers based in 13 locations throughout the country.
For observation of election-day procedures on 6 November, ODIHR's mission was joined by 617 short-term observers, including 62 from the OSCE Parliamentary assembly, 51 from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 12 from the European Parliament, and 11 from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
According to the mission's final report: "While there were improvements in some respects during the pre-election period, notably an inclusive candidate registration which provided for a competitive election in most constituencies and enhanced voter choice, interference from local executive authorities and media bias favoring incumbents resulted in a failure to ensure equitable conditions for all candidates. Voting was generally calm; however, the election day process deteriorated progressively during the count and, in particular, the tabulation of votes.
"Two presidential decrees outlined concrete measures for improving the election process; however, such expressions of political will were devalued by the inability or unwillingness of State executive authorities to translate them into resolute action. Ultimately, local executive authorities were not held sufficiently accountable and failed to fully comply with the Presidential decrees and the underlying legislation. There were continued restrictions on the freedom of assembly, as well as harassment, intimidation and detentions of some candidates and their supporters. While the election administration took steps to improve the election process, further efforts are needed to improve the accuracy of the voter lists and implement military voting provisions in compliance with the law."