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.”
The Caucasus nation’s main opposition parties did not participate in the polls and had called for a boycott, claiming that the vote would be rigged.
Natiq Mammadov, the deputy head of the CEC, rejected numerous allegations of voting fraud committed by poll workers, telling the Turan news agency that all reports of violations were “lies.”
But the CEC’s own “online observation” cameras captured footage of poll workers in the town of Kurdamir appearing to clumsily switch a ballot box with another that appeared to contain about twice as many votes.