Aliyev’s Rigged Election in Azerbaijan Lacks Credibility

Washington

Restrictions on free expression and assembly and reports of ballot stuffing and vote fraud have undermined the credibility of Azerbaijan’s presidential elections. Freedom House calls on the European Union to prioritize human rights and democracy in Azerbaijan at the Eastern Partnership Summit that will take place in November 2013 in Vilnius, and suspend negotiations on visa facilitation for Azerbaijani government officials.

Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) described the election as “seriously flawed.”  The government crackdowns on independent media, civil society organizations, political activists and supporters of the opposition candidates eliminated any possibility that the election would be free or fair.  Opposition candidates were largely denied access to mass media during a campaign that lasted only 21 days, and freedom of assembly was severely hindered in the lead-up to the elections, while the incumbent President, Ilham Aliyev, extensively used state resources, which secured him nearly 85 percent of the votes. Concerns about the level of fraud intensified on the eve of the elections, when information available through a mobile application run by the Central Election Commission “leaked” the outcome of the next day’s voting to social networks, in which Aliyev was assured of a landslide victory.

“The government of Azerbaijan has shown blatant disregard for its international obligations in the conduct of this election,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. “President Aliyev’s ‘victory’ is badly tainted and lacks legitimacy, raising questions about how, even whether, he should be received at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius at the end of next month.”

Azerbaijan is rated Not Free in Freedom of the World 2013, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2013, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2013.

To learn more about Azerbaijan, visit:

Freedom in the World 2013: Azerbaijan

Freedom on the Net 2013: Azerbaijan

Freedom of the Press 2013: Azerbaijan

Nations in Transit 2013: Azerbaijan

Blog: Freedom at Issue

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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (freedomhouse). Stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our newsletter.