Mr Hancock and the Azerbaijanis
Posted by democratist on September 1, 2010
1st September 2010
It is interesting to see that Mike Hancock MP has been in the news again;
It would appear that The Guardian is also now on the case, and is starting to ask some rather pertinent questions about Hancock’s relations with the Russians.
By way of contribution to the debate, Democratist remembers, at the time of the Azerbaijani Presidential elections in 2008, Hancock came out with the following statement – in his capacity as a PACE observer in the OSCE-led, joint Election Observation Mission – just after midday on polling day (i.e. a good eight hours before polling closed).
“The election process can be valued positively”, Member of PACE Observation Mission, British Parliamentarian Mike Hancock told APA. Stressing his observation mission during the previous elections in Azerbaijan, the British Deputy said he had observed the election process in seven polling stations in Yasamal and Sabayel districts. “I value the activity of the electoral commission members positively. It is observed that they mastered instructions on the organizing of the elections perfectly. Voters were also educated well”. Mike Hancock expressed regret that some opposition leaders did not join the elections. “It means that opposition is not active. It is not the fault of the President that some oppositional candidates did not join the elections. I consider that the opposition behaves undemocratically in these elections. It would be better if the opposition joined the elections even if they lost, because the election is important process for the political organizations”.
Quite something for one person to say, before polling had even ended – especially if they are supposed to be part of a team of several hundred people. And especially if they had been instructed not to make personal comments to the media, but rather contribute to the joint statement (as we believe is the case for all OSCE observers, even PACE MPs). Indeed, if we were more cynical, Democratist might suggest that the statement almost seemed as if it were prepared in advance.
Democratist was also informed that Mr. Hancock apparently managed (pretty much single-handedly) to make the OSCE preliminary statement on those elections far more positive than it would otherwise have been, through his influence as a PACE MP observer on the drafting process.
It is therefore also to be noted that, in addition to his cordial relations with the Russians, Mr Hancock has continued since 2008 to defend the Azerbaijani regime on many occasions.
Here’s a quick example, the relevant passage from which we reproduce below;
British deputy Michael Hancock noted that he sees Azerbaijan’s future positively and told that there is democracy in Azerbaijan. “There is democracy in Azerbaijan. Therefore, the Azerbaijani people voted for the current government. In this country there is no strong opposition, which refused to participate in the elections. The Government of Azerbaijan will continue to cooperate with the Council of Europe. In this direction is the political will of the authorities of Azerbaijan’, he said.