Critics have long viewed Azerbaijan’s elections as predetermined, but the country appears to have gone a step further this year by publishing results before the polls have even opened, The Independent writes.
The mistake came when an electoral commission accidentally published results showing a victory for Ilham Aliyev, the country’s long-standing President, a day before voting. Meydan TV, an online channel critical of the government, released a screenshot from a mobile app for the Azerbaijan Central Election Commission which showed that Mr Aliyev had received 72.76 per cent of the vote compared with 7.4 per cent for the opposition candidate, Jamil Hasanli. The screenshot also indicates that the app displayed information about how many people voted at various times during the day. Polls opened at 8am.
Although instances of ballot-stuffing have been documented in past elections, this apparent leak of the premature results shows a more serious degree of vote falsification, Meydan TV’s managing director, Emin Milli, told The Independent.
Happy Baku, the agency that developed the app, has disputed that it showed predetermined election results. A statement published on its website said the results came from testing the app using data from opinion polls and “did not have any relation to this year’s elections”.