Azerbaijan election results were released a bit early during election week, it turns out. The winner of Wednesday's presidential race was revealed on Tuesday. That's right --- the government declared the next "elected" president a full day before voting even began. Dictators these days just don't try anymore.
The goof up happened when Azerbaijan's Central Election Commission accidentally updated their official smartphone app Tuesday, according to Washington Post. The app briefly showed President Ilham Aliyev winning Wednesday's race with a whopping 72.76 percent of the vote. Official results after the actual polling showed Aliyev as even more popular, winning almost 85 percent of the total vote.
No, the Central Election Commission is not clairvoyant. It is well-known that since President Ilham Aliyev took over as Azerbaijan's ruler a decade ago he has had little interest in opening up the political process. However, like any good dictator, Aliyev holds so-called democratic elections every so often, which he always wins by a landslide.
The official story is that the app's developers mistakenly sent out the 2008 election results on Tuesday. But, as Washington Post points out, this excuse is a hard sell since the candidates listed were different from those involved in the 2008 race.
As ABC News reports, election monitors claim the presidential election results are not fair. They say limitations on assembly and speech freedoms, ballot box stuffing, flawed counting practices, and disproportionate coverage of President Aliyev's campaign show the race as a fraud. Aliyev's main opposition candidate, Jamil Hasanli, who won less than six percent of the recent vote, has demanded elections be held again.
Aliyev was handed his presidency from his father, the latest in a familial line of oil-rich Caspian Sea rulers. Over the past decade Ilham Aliyev has shown himself to possess a low tolerance for government critics. However his supporters say the Azerbaijan election results prove that the wealth the president and his family have brought to the nation make him deservedly popular.