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Azerbaijan’s Democratic Elections: Back to the Future Voting…Results are in but Voting Hasn’t Started Yet
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Azerbaijan’s presidential elections, to start next Wednesday weren’t expected to be particularly democratic or just. Current President Ilham Aliyev, stepping upto the plate after his father, has stopped the free press and has cracked down on freedoms that we take for granted in the west. Groups concerned with the restrictions complain about their lack of speech freedoms and the media converge that is by the state, for the state, from the state, and of the state. The BBC even had a headline for the soon to come election called, “The Pre-Determined President.” Of course, a headline like that, speaks for itself.

The enactment of a supposed fair and just democratic-style election is a series of actions that must go on, like a drama for the people. In this way, the façade of democracy is maintained; the tatamae is honored as a ritual and continues. The convergence and self-realized opposition of the honne and tatamae happened- leaving an awkward dilemma from people who knew the truth- but who wanted to save face and at least pretend that democracy had a place, so as to continue onward casting votes in the country. The Washington Post comments, “It was a bit awkward when Azerbaijan’s election authorities released vote results- a full day before voting had even started.”


For any residents in Azerbaijan who believed that the government wasn’t fixing elections, and are hurt to know that corruption has infiltrated their government, I apologize for your pain upon learning the truth on behalf of democracy. For everyone else who isn’t at all surprised, Aliyev has won the election! Congratulations! Current President Aliyev won by a landslide, and the results were released by the Central Election Commission on an official smartphone app. Aliyev ‘won’ the vote by 72.76 percent, maintaining trend lines from similar counts in previous elections, at 73% in 2003, and 87% in 2008, respectively.

The opponent, Jamil Hasanli had 7.4% of votes. Hasanli appealed to the Central Election Commission to pay for airtime to discuss his views, while he also complained that Aliyev gets all of the airtime. He was denied.

The data released showing the win of President Aliyev was recalled. What appears to have been told was that the developer of the app had used the 2008 results as part of a test. In the information that did come out however, current candidates were shown, not 2008 candidates however. Believability for that excuse globally is probably very low, while nationally in Azerbaijan it is questionable what the residents really think.

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The Washington Post notes that the important order of operations that was messed up for this election cycle was: “Demonstrators are put down, reporters are harassed, opposition candidates are whittled down, supporters are ushered to the polls, and then Aliyev’s sweeping victory is announced. They got the order wrong here.” At this time, votes have been counted upto 80%, and as Aliyev win almost 85%, he has been officially reelected.

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