The leadership of the oil-rich country of Azerbaijan has said they will take on board western criticism about parliamentary elections at the weekend. The US has called for an investigation into allegations of fraud and says its links with the country depend on the response.
Sunday’s election pitted President Ilham Aliev’s New Azerbaijan Party against an opposition coalition. Isa Gambar, the leader of the opposition Musavat Party, wants the results to be scrapped in the majority of the South Caucasus country’s districts – and has announced plans for protests in the streets. President Aliev’s government has admitted there were complaints about the tally and has not ruled out a recount if serious violations are found.Despite its remote location on the edge of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan has close ties with western countries whose companies have invested heavily in oil produced there. But they have urged it to embrace democracy, seen as the only way of guaranteeing stability in the region.