Azerbaijan's general election is taking place today, but it looks like the results are already in.
According to Meydan TV, an independent news channel, the country's election commission released an application for iPhone and Android to allow citizens to see the results of the vote. But there was just one problem: without one vote yet cast, the app already showed a clear victory for the country's current president Ilham Aliyev. It even showed his vote total, supposedly garnering 72.76% of the vote.
So much for free and fair elections.
If there was any doubt that elections in the dictator-controlled nation are fully rigged, this major blunder proves what democracy activists have known about the country and its government all along. Meydan TV's director and well-known activist Emin Milli told Access Now that the discovery has left him "speechless," and that "even the facade of a real election in Azerbaijan has been proven a farce.”
Meanwhile, the application's developer has denied that this is any indication of a rigged election, claiming that the application was merely a test, and the results in question were actually from the 2008 election.
But critics have pointed out that this is impossible, since the opposition candidate listed, Jamil Hasanli, is the current candidate and was not on the ballot back in 2008.
Writing for the Guardian yesterday, Hasanli called for the end of Aliyev's rule, who has been in power for a decade after inheriting the presidency from his father. Together, they have ruled the country for 20 years.
The oil-rich country has been accused of corruption in the past, and clearly goes to great lengths to remain in power. Writing for Index on Censorship, Rebecca Vincent, an expert on human rights in Azerbaijan, said that the country has not seen a "fair and free election since Aliyev came to power." Human Rights Watch in September also condemned the country's crackdown on civil society and dissidents in the run up to the election.
Hasanli told the Guardian that he will be ready to protest if he loses, and has every reason to believe that the results have been compromised.