Azerbaijan Announces Election Winner —Before the Election

Results sent out on smartphone app
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 10, 2013 5:02 AM CDT
Azeri women cast their ballot papers at a polling station in Nardaran, north of Baku, Azerbaijan, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013.   (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
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(Newser) – Voting for the next president of Azerbaijan wasn't supposed to start until yesterday—but the day before, results were already amazingly posted on a Central Election Commission smartphone app. The app said incumbent president Ilham Aliyev was winning with 73% of the vote, continuing his family's decades-long reign (the Washington Post has a screenshot). The early results were quickly removed, and when actual voting commenced, the commission said Aliyev had managed 85% of the vote, compared to the runner-up's 6%. The election was never actually expected to be free or fair, the Post notes.

Today, the commission apologized for the advance result, claiming it was spurred by software testing. But runner-up Jamil Hasanli wasn't satisfied. "This election doesn't reflect the people's will," he said. Outside observers cited a deeply flawed voting process, including "limitations on the freedoms of expression, assembly, and association that didn't guarantee a level playing field for candidates," the AP reports. Political activists in the country have been falsely imprisoned, says Human Rights Watch; and an analyst says fake candidates ganged up on Hasanli during debates, the BBC reports. Officials fear "post-election disorder," monitors say, following anti-corruption riots earlier this year. (Read more Azerbaijan stories.)

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