Thursday, October 10, 2013

So much for those election monitors

To nobody's particular surprised President Aliyev of Azerbaijan has won a spectacular victory and will be entering his third term.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) said that with 92 percent of the vote counted, the incumbent, Ilham Aliyev, won by 85 percent, while the top opposition candidate, Jamil Hasanli, got 5 percent.

"Our model of national and religious tolerance is an example for all other nations … We will continue democratic reforms and the process of building a modern state," Aliyev told national TV.
In this he has the agreement of some of the international observers in Baku.
French senators have congratulated Azerbaijan's President on a sweeping election victory, but they could have done it one day before the vote.

The French politicians, Nathalie Goulet, Mohamed Soilihi and Jean-Claude Peroni - three of dozens of international monitors in the country - were quoted by Azerbaijan state press on Thursday (10 October) as saying Wednesday's poll was free and fair.

"I did not see any difference in the election processes of our countries," France's Soilihi noted.
A slight problem has emerged, which casts doubt on that statement unless there are aspects to the French electoral system we do not know.
The CEC contracted a firm called Happy Baku to create a phone app to publish the outcome.

But when the app became available for download one day ahead of the vote, it already contained a set of results: Aliyev 73 percent and Hasanli 7 percent.

Activists based in Germany, which operate the opposition cable channel Meydan TV, published screen-grabs of the data.

The news quickly acquired the tag "appgate" and reached EU officials in Brussels. It also made headlines on the British state broadcaster, the BBC, on Swedish TV and in the US daily, the Washington Post.

The app equally quickly went offline. The Happy Baku chief also deleted his Facebook page, Twitter account and LinkedIn page.
We have to wait and see how EU officials will react to events in Azerbaijan, given that President Aliyev "is about to decide what percentage of a €40 billion gas pipeline to award to European firms". To be fair, the EU itself does not have electoral mishaps of this kind - it prefers not to elect its political leaders.


  1. " . . it prefers not to elect its political leaders."

    But I bet they get a copy of that App though.

  2. From Guido :

    That HandyCock gets around (*) , doesn't he ?

    (* at our expense, natch)

  3. Would it be cynical of me to wonder how many of those contracts French firms are bidding for?