AZERBAIJAN
Parliamentary Chamber: Milli Mejlis

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2000

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Chamber:
  Milli Mejlis


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  5 November 2000


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all seats in the National Assembly on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  Elections to the Milli Majlis took place on 5 November 2000. Ninety-nine deputies were elected in single-member constituencies (as the constituency of Nagorno-Karabakh was not contested) and 25 through a system of proportional representation.

The elections were held under a new Law on Parliamentary Elections, approved on 5 July 2000 that contains no separate article regulating the participation of domestic observers and one article regulating the participation of international ones. As a result, no independent domestic groups were permitted to monitor the vote. Another article of the Law stipulates that parties which fail to register at least six months before the announcement of the elections are excluded from the polls. The Supreme Court ruled in late August that the article was unconstitutional.

The elections were a test of Azerbaijan's commitment to the principles of the Council of Europe as the country was seeking its accession to the organisation, and it was announced that the Council of Ministers of the European organisation would not vote on the subject until the elections had taken place.

Information gathered by the organisation Human Rights Watch regarding the pre-election period highlighted government interference, mainly with regard to candidate registration. Approximately half of the candidates were barred from running in the single-member constituency races. The ruling party had 140 candidates registered, while the three main opposition parties combined registered 90. The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) only registered five political parties and refused the application of eight others on suspicion that some signatures on candidate application petitions were falsified. On 6 October 2000, following a letter from President Aliyev, the CEC reversed its decision and registered all parties. The electoral campaign was overshadowed by the arrest of the editor of the newspaper published by the opposition Musavat party.

Mr Ilham Aliyev, son of President Haydar Aliyev and presumed political successor to his father, led the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) list of candidates to contest the party list seats. Opposition leaders had vehemently opposed the junior Aliyev's ascension, while the ruling party had announced its intention of electing him the new Speaker of the Parliament. This is the second most powerful position in the country and the holder would assume power if the President is unable to fulfil his duties.

On election day, observers reported that the polling was conducted in a calm atmosphere, although isolated acts of violence were reported.

The official results were announced by the Central Electoral Commission on 14 November 2000 and confirmed by the Constitutional Court a few days later. Of the 25 seats filled under the proportional representation system, 16 were won by the NAP, while four went to the People's Front of Azerbaijan, three to the Civic Solidarity Party and two to the Communist Party of Azerbaijan. The Constitutional Court and the Central Electoral Commission annulled elections in 11 districts because of confirmed irregularities. New elections were held on 7 January 2001.

The statement issued by the International Election Observation Mission (composed of members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly) declared that although the elections were an improvement over previous ones, in particular in enhancing political pluralism, they fell short of international standards.

The first session of the new Parliament was convened on 24 November 2000. Dr. Murtuz Aleskerov of the ruling party was re-elected as the Speaker by a vote of 100 to one. Opposition deputies boycotted the session, with the exception of the Musavat party member.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (5 November 2000): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 4 241 550
Voters 2 883 819 (68 %)

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
New Azerbaidjan Party 1 809 801 62.45
Citizens' Solidarity Party 313 059 10.80
Popular Front Party 182 777 6.31
Communist Party 182 029 6.28
Musavat n.a. n.a.
Independents n.a. n.a.
Others n.a. n.a.

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Proportional Majority
New Azerbaidjan Party 78 16 62
Citizens' Solidarity Party 3 3 0
Popular Front Party 6 4 2
Communist Party 2 2 0
Musavat 1 0 1
Independents 26 0 26
Others 8 0 8

Comments:
  The constituency of Nagorno-Karabakh was not contested

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 111
Women: 13
Percent of women: 10.48


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Copyright 2000 Inter-Parliamentary Union