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Increased pressure against civil society and candidates ahead of Sunday’s elections

(February 6, 2020)


Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDS) has carried out long-term observation of 9 February 2020 early Parliamentary Elections in two stages: nomination and registration of the candidates and the pre-election agitation campaign. First interim report on the results of the monitoring in the first stage (9 December 2019 – 16 January 2020) was published on 17 January 2020.1 This report has been based on the results of the monitoring from the pre-election campaign period.

EMDS has reviewed the stages of the 9 February 2020 early Parliamentary elections based on the inputs of 18 well-trained long-term observers and the current report includes contributions across 80 election constituencies over 20 days (17 January – 5 February).

EMDS notes with regret that no advancement has been observed in terms of democratization of the political environment, enjoyment level of the freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and association both prior to and during the pre-election agitation campaign of the 9 February 2020 early Parliamentary elections. There have been cases of pressure applied against the civil society and political activists, candidates and their relatives in both stages of the Parliamentary elections. The government failed to demonstrate the political will to release more than 100 people who are in jail with politically motivated charges as a result of increased political repression over the last few years.

Noting with pleasure, EMDS compares the current elections with the last 2015 Parliamentary elections and mentions that there is significantly increased public interest for political activeness, discussions and for the entire electoral processes. Despite, no free airtime has been allocated by any of the publicly funded TVs to present the political platforms of candidates, parties and organizations or to cover the discussion of nationwide problems for the public. Thus, most TVs, including the ‘Ictimai TV’ (Public Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (ITV hereinafter) failed to comply with their obligations before the public to inform

EMDS hopes for an objective and independent administration by the election commissions during 9 February 2020 parliamentary election day to conduct the voting and counting processes in an established order and to prevent, especially, the representatives of local executive authorities to interference with elections.

Read the full report here

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