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International monitors, opposition challenge Azerbaijan election results

[JURIST] International voting observers and opposition leaders on Monday challenged the victory claimed by the ruling party in Sunday's Azerbaijan [BBC country profile] elections, saying that the elections were rigged. According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) [official website], the elections did not meet international standards [press release] for democratic elections, despite some improvements. OSCE officials said that the pre-election period showed more promise than it has in the past, with inclusive candidate registration, compromises on the types of identification voters could present [JURIST report], voter education campaigns and free airtime given to candidates. Problems with voter registration, restricted freedom of assembly and interference from government authorities, however, offset these advances. "It pains me to report that progress noted in the pre-election period was undermined by significant deficiencies in the count," stated Alcee L. Hastings [official website], OSCE's parliamentary assembly president and a US Representative from Florida. The principal opposition coalition, Azadliq [official website in Azeri], is calling for results in four-fifths of the countries 125 voting districts to be annulled. CNN has more.

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