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Thursday, 10 October 2013 09:00

Presidental election stolen already

Written by Nick Farrell



Online vote rigging

There was an old joke which said “there was an outcry in Russia when someone broke into the Kremlin and stole next year’s election results,” but it turns out that is actually come true in Azerbaijan.

The country has gone to the polls with President Ilham Aliyev, who took over from his father 10 years ago, starting his campaign threatening activists and journalists. Expectations were fairly low but it was a little awkward when Azerbaijan's election authorities released vote results – a full day before voting had even started. Aliyev was shown as winning by a landslide in an official smartphone app run by the Central Election Commission.

He was down to win with 72.76 percent of the vote which was slightly down on his previous elections where he won 76.84 percent of the vote in 2003 and 87 percent in 2008. In second place was opposition candidate Jamil Hasanli with 7.4 percent of the vote. Hasanli had recently appealed to the Central Election Commission for paid airtime on state TV, arguing that Aliyev gets heavy airtime and the opposition does not. He was denied.

The data was quickly recalled with the app's developer blamed for sending out the 2008 election results as part of a test. But that's a bit flimsy, given that the released totals show the candidates from this week, not from 2008. As of this writing, Azerbaijan's election authorities say they've counted 80 percent of the ballots, with Aliyev winning just under 85 percent of the vote so far.

He's been officially reelected. Makes you wonder why people bother to show up.

Nick Farrell

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