Azerbaijan’s authoritarian president, Ilham Aliyev, has secured a landslide victory in a snap presidential election that was boycotted by the main opposition parties. The Central Election Commission (CEC) said in a statement that Aliyev received 86 percent of the vote with 94 percent of votes counted. Turnout was 74.5 percent, the statement added. The results of the April 11 election give Aliyev, who ran for the ruling New Azerbaijan party, a fourth consecutive term in office, in a vote that Human Rights Watch (HRW) said did not provide “a viable choice” for the voters. “I am grateful to my people for voting for our achievements and success,” Aliyev said on state television, soon after the election commission announced the partial results. “People voted for stability, security, and development.”
In the past few weeks, first in Russia and then in Egypt, leaders have used so-called elections to provide a patina of legitimacy for their grip on power. Russian President Vladimir Putin secured yet another term with nearly 77 percent of the vote; Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi did even better, nailing down 97 percent of the vote in Egypt. Neither of them deserved congratulations from Western leaders. In both cases, the outcome of the election was known well before voters went to the polls, as any serious opponents were prevented from running and the cards were solidly stacked in favor of the incumbents. These were not real elections in any sense of the term.
President Ilham Aliyev is expected to secure a fourth consecutive term in Azerbaijan’s election on Wednesday that opponents say has already been skewed in his favor. The former Soviet republic’s huge energy reserves and its strategic location along the Caspian Sea mean it is viewed by Europe as an important alternative to Russia for energy supplies. Opposition parties say they are boycotting the presidential vote because of Aliyev’s sustained crackdown on dissent during his rule and a likely rigging of electoral results. “We are not going to participate in this show,” Jamil Hasanly, head of the National Council of Democratic Forces, the Azeri opposition coalition, told Reuters.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s decree to set the date of a snap presidential election on April 11, 2018, has become a kind of “information bomb.” The Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan has been charged to organize and conduct the presidential election in compliance with the Election Code. The regular presidential election was supposed to be held in October of 2018. The president’s aide for public and political affairs Ali Hasanov has already called the nation to support the incumbent president at the snap election.
Azerbaijan: Foreign Ministry says holding illegal presidential election in Nagorno-Karabakh is ‘ridiculous’ | APA
Holding an illegal presidential election in the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia is ridiculous, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hikmat Hajiyev told APA. He was commenting on the illegal “presidential election” to be held by the so-called regime in Nagorno-Karabakh on July 19. Hajiyev reminded that the so-called “parliamentary elections” on May 3, 2015 and “the referendum on constitutional changes” on February 20, 2017 of the illegal puppet regime established in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia was rejected and not recognized by the international community.
Azerbaijan has voted in favor of extending the presidential term from five to seven years, election authorities said on Tuesday, a step that critics say will hand unprecedented powers to President Ilham Aliyev who has led the country since 2003. The state election commission said a vast majority of the 91.2 percent of voters who turned out in a referendum in the Caspian Sea oil-producer had backed the move. “The referendum was conducted in a transparent manner,” Mazakhir Panakhov, commission head, said before reading out the result of Monday’s plebiscite. Aliyev, 54, who succeeded his father as president, can seek re-election indefinitely after a maximum number of terms in office was scrapped via a similar referendum seven years ago.
Azerbaijanis have started voting in a controversial referendum on boosting presidential powers, with opposition and rights groups denouncing the proposed amendments as a move to expand President Ilham Aliyev’s grip on power. If passed, the referendum would extend the president’s term in office from five to seven years, would introduce a new position of first vice president – who would become the country’s second most powerful leader, instead of the prime minister as is the case now. The proposed constitutional changes also allow the president to call snap leadership elections at will, and easily dissolve parliament. … Opposition groups staged mass protests in the run-up to the referendum, accusing Aliyev of trying to extend his family’s control over the oil-rich former Soviet republic.
President Ilham Aliyev’s ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP) has claimed a landslide victory in the country’s November 1 parliamentary elections — a vote that was boycotted by Europe’s largest monitoring agency and all of Azerbaijan’s established opposition parties. Aliyev’s ruling party was widely expected to maintain its dominance as a result of the election, which came in the midst of a persistent government clampdown on dissent that shows few signs of being lifted. The former Soviet republic’s 5,547 polling stations closed at 7 p.m.local time and some 5 million Azerbaijanis were eligible to vote.
Voters in the oil-rich Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan cast ballots Sunday in a parliamentary election that is expected to secure the ruling party’s dominance. International rights groups have accused Azerbaijani authorities of limiting free speech, and the main trans-Atlantic security and rights group, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, has refused to monitor the vote after Azerbaijan demanded that it sharply cut the number of observers. It marks the first time since Azerbaijan won independence after the 1991 Soviet collapse that the OSCE will not monitor its election. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s government long has faced criticism in the West for showing little tolerance for dissent and holding elections that fall below democratic standards.
Preparations for the upcoming Parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan are in full swing. Campaigning kicked off on October 9 and will last until 8:00 a.m. October 31. During this parliamentary election, some 1,246 candidates are competing for seats in the 125-seat Azerbaijani Parliament, the supreme legislative body of the country, Central Election Commission Chairman Mazahir Panahov has said. Candidates for members of Azerbaijan’s Parliament at the upcoming elections scheduled for November 1 have received a number of campaigning recommendations from the Central Election Commission.
Internal corporate network of the Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan can act in perspective as a platform to launch electronic voting system in the election process in the country. This was announced by the Director of the CEC Information Center, Rufat Gulmammadov at a briefing organized by the Information and Computing Center of Azerbaijan’s Communications and High Technologies Ministry on October 9.
According to him, addressing the issues of legal regulation is an important component of this process.
Azerbaijan’s big presidential election, held on Wednesday, was anticipated to be neither free nor fair. President Ilham Aliyev, who took over from his father 10 years ago, has stepped up intimidation of activists and journalists. Rights groups are complaining about free speech restrictions and one-sided state media coverage. The BBC’s headline for its story on the election reads “The Pre-Determined President.” So expectations were pretty low. Even still, one expects a certain ritual in these sorts of authoritarian elections, a fealty to at least the appearance of democracy, if not democracy itself. So it was a bit awkward when Azerbaijan’s election authorities released vote results – a full day before voting had even started.
Azerbaijan: President’s re-election declared a day before the vote; opposition cries foul | The Washington Post
Something funny happened the day before Azerbaijan’s presidential election: The election commission announced the winner. On Tuesday, the smartphone app of the Central Election Commission released the results of Wednesday’s vote, showing President Ilham Aliyev, whose family has been at the helm of this oil-rich Caspian Sea nation for four decades, winning 73 percent of the vote. The commission explained the gaffe by saying that a software developer had released the figures as a “test” at one polling station. It apologized for the “misunderstanding.” Official results on Thursday showed Aliyev winning nearly 85 percent of the vote. His closest challenger, main opposition candidate Jamil Hasanli, trailed with less than 6 percent, followed by eight fringe candidates, according to the commission.
Azerbaijan is on the threshold of an important and historic event. Azerbaijani citizens will go the polls on October 9 to elect their president for a five-year term through general, direct and equal elections, by free, private and secret voting. The election campaigning of the presidential candidates will end on October 8, 24 hours before the polling starts at 08:00 on election day. The Central Election Commission (CEC) is taking a number of important steps to improve the election system and ensure the conduct of democratic, transparent, free and fair elections in Azerbaijan. It has installed web cameras in 1,000 polling stations across the country. Some countries require registration to obtain permission to follow the voting process through web cameras. But there are no restrictions in Azerbaijan in this regard. Any citizens will be able to follow the voting process online by accessing the following websites: cec.gov.az; infocenter.gov.az; e-gov.az. It will also be possible to follow the voting process via smartphone mobile devices.
Azerbaijanis will go the polls on Oct. 9 in an atmosphere marked by a general sense of fear combined with deep apathy. Although there were signs of discontent earlier this year with a riot in a provincial town – as well as occasional unsanctioned opposition rallies in the capital Baku – these expressions of discontent with corruption and power abuse as well as grievances over rising material inequalities did not develop into a sustained popular mobilization movement. Most experts predict that the outcome of the upcoming vote is predetermined in favor of the incumbent president, Illham Aliyev, who has been in office for 10 years already. If elected, this will be his third term – a term made possible through a controversial 2009 constitutional amendment. What makes President Aliyev’s reelection an almost foregone conclusion is a reflection of the resources held by the current regime, the uncompetitive nature of the electoral process, and repression and intimidation used against regime critics.
Azerbaijan on Tuesday blocked the country’s main opposition candidate from challenging strongman president Ilham Aliyev in October elections. The oil-rich ex-Soviet state’s election commission said Oscar-winning screenwriter Rustam Ibragimbekov had been barred from standing in the autumn polls because of his dual Russian-Azerbaijan citizenship. “The Central Electoral Commission reviewed all the documents presented by Ibragimbekov and considers that there is no legal basis for registering his candidacy for the presidential polls,” said Arifa Mukhtarova, the commission’s secretary. “The basis for this decision is his Russian citizenship and his obligations to that country.”
A certain intrigue has appeared ahead of the presidential elections in Azerbaijan. A major part of the Azeri opposition, which includes the key opposition parties Musavat and People’s Front, overcame their traditional differences and united into the National Council of Democratic Forces. Moreover, the new entity managed to present a united candidate, despite the pessimistic predictions of analysts. The candidate is screenwriter and film director Rustam Ibragimbekov, who turned from a silent supporter of the current authorities into their radical opponent. The Azerbaijani opposition needed a neutral figure they could unite behind. At the same time, neither Ali Kerimli (People’s Front) nor Isa Gambar (Musavat) nor Eldar Namazov (EL Movement) who deal with politics for decades would bet on a powerful leader with his own political weight and electorate. From this point of view, a respected artist, but inexperienced politician Rustam Ibragimbekov was perfect for the role of the common candidate.
Azerbaijan: Opposition considers election code. “If no amendments are made to the Code, there are calls to boycott the 2013 elections.” | Caucasus Elections Watch
The Azerbaijan Public Chamber on June 21st held a round table discussion on the proposed amendments to the Electoral Code of Azerbaijan. About 60 participants attended the public debate which was moderated by Mr. Vidadi Mirkamal, the chairman-in-office for the Coordination Council of the Public Chamber. There was one keynote speaker, Mr. Hafiz Hasanov, an elections expert, who presented his views on the general electoral environment in the country as well as his suggestions for potential amendments, generating further discussion. After the panelists spoke, several party leaders, NGO heads and experts were involved in an interactive discussion that brought forward a wide range of electoral concerns. This included the seven priority recommendations made by the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission following the 2010 Parliamentary Elections that left all major opposition parties without a single seat in the parliament.
It is possible to hold free, open and democratic elections in Azerbaijan. The statement came from Zeynal Nagdaliyev, head of the department for regional management and local authorities at the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration at opening of training for chairmen of district election commissions and polling stations conducted by the Central Election Commission (CEC). He emphasized the importance of the training.
‘Unlike previous years, today we can say with confidence that highly skilled professionals who each year continue to improve their sills conduct elections in the country. All this proves that it is possible to hold free, open democratic elections,’ Nagdaliyev noted.
‘The voting process in previous parliamentary elections was recognized as legal in all 125 constituencies “which is due to expertise of members of our district election commissions.