Azerbaijan is holding nationwide local elections today, 4th since it gained independence in 1991.
Around 37,000 people submitted their candidacies for 15,035 seats at the municipalities across the country for the total of 1607 municipalities.
The party with a leading number of candidates is the ruling party of New Azerbaijan with 13,400 registered candidates. The party, which comes next is the Motherland party with 159 candidates. In total there are candidates from approximately 30 political parties. Major opposition parties, like The Popular Front Party, are not taking part in this elections by blaiming the authorites for unfair electoral conditions.
Already in the early morning hours vote rigging and ballot stuffing was observed at many of the precincts across the country.The journalists were prevented from filming the violations and in some cases thrown out of the polling stations. Officials at the Central Election Commission insist that the voting is going without serious irregularities. Municipalities were created in 1999 in Azerbaijan.