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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

(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.

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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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