Elections saga in Azerbaijan

Last year, on 9th of October, presidential elections were held in Azerbaijan. As expected, Ilham Aliyev’s third victory was preponderant, 85%.

Maidenly he got to power in 2003 after his father, Heydar, pulled back from the politics. Heydar, the former KGB head, was on reign around 40 years. If we look at the European Council’s official announcement about 2013 elections : “overall around election day we have observed a free, fair and transparent electoral process”, everything looks to be fine and democratic, even a lot of newspapers used this statement and did not go deeper in the topic. If we look at the real situation, the problems arise. There is a big difference even in the announcements in EU and OSCE, whose report pointed out: “It was undermined by limitations on the freedoms of expression, assembly, and association that did not guarantee a level playing field for candidates“.

Alyev’s campaign from elections-to-elctions is held every single day. All the media has to cover their president’s activities and the news are shown always from the curved mirror. Before the elections all the teachers were enforced to call through all the parents to remind them to vote for Aliyev, people were handed out already filled voting ballots, the voters were transported with buses through different voting offices so they could give Aliyev more than just one vote. People on the streets were taken forcibly to the voting boxes and so on and so on. Human rights violations did not end with the elections, on 12th of October 4 000 people protested against the voting results – around ten protesters were arrested while the others were beaten.

The weird thing in the election results is the fact that the official results were accidentally published a day before the polls were opened. The Central Election Commision of Azerbaijan announced Ilham Aliyev to be the winner with 73%.

Of course Azerbaijan is not the only and the worst country in the world that has problems with democratic elecitons but as an opinion leaders we, the citizens of EU, need to stand aswell for the rights of the people that do not have the chance to stand for themselves. Letting Aliyev act like he wants only strengthens his power while there is no help for democratic organizations that want to save the country form dictatorship. European Union, especially in foreign policy, can not be just and economic union.


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