Opposition to seek reversal of results in Azerbaijan vote

WORLD DIGEST

World Digest

November 07, 2005|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

BAKU, Azerbaijan -- Hours after polls closed in parliamentary balloting yesterday, opposition parties and authorities in this oil-rich nation headed toward a potentially violent confrontation over whether results should be thrown out on grounds of fraud.

Leaders of the three-party opposition Freedom bloc declared at an evening news conference that violations of electoral law during the day's voting were so serious that they would launch protests aimed at overturning the results, beginning with a rally tomorrow afternoon in the capital. They pledged that demonstrations would be nonviolent and within the bounds of the country's constitution.

It was not clear whether the opposition would get permission to hold the rally. Police have used beatings and arrests to break up previous opposition attempts to hold unauthorized demonstrations, and the government has said it will crush any post-election threat to public order.

With 14 percent of the vote counted, early official figures for certain districts showed ruling party candidates the likely winners in 35, independents leading in 17 and Freedom bloc candidates favored in two.

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