Ruling party leading in Azeri polls

Election officials have said Azerbaijan's ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party won nearly half the seats in parliament, but opposition parties say the vote was rigged.

    Aliyev's party has been accused of vote-rigging by the opposition

    Citing partial poll results, Central Election Commission Chairman Mazahir Panahov said on Monday the party led by president Ilham Aliyevhad won 58 seats in the 125-seat parliament in Sunday's vote.


    The biggest opposition bloc, Azadlig, had only five seats.


    Independent candidates had taken 33 seats, Panahov told a news briefing.


    Panahov said the seats had been awarded on the basis of

    ballots received from 28% of the country's 5000 polling stations.


    But hours before the results were announced, several opposition parties contesting the parliamentary elections accused the authorities of vote-rigging and fraud.


    "There has been great and widespread falsification at the polling stations," Fuad Mustafayev, deputy chairman of the opposition Popular Front Party, told


    "We have thousands of incidents documented and they are doing this quite openly and crudely."


    Charge rejected


    Yeni Azerbaijan Party (YAP) representatives deny such allegations.


    YAP leaders have repeatedly stated their commitment to holding free and fair elections in the former Soviet republic.


    Azadlig, which consists of three parties, including the Popular Front, is to announce its response to the results on Monday morning, with many seeing demonstrations likely.


    More than 600 observers from the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitored Sunday's vote, along with hundreds of local and other international observers.


    The OSCE has not yet commented on the vote.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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