Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic on the Caspian Sea, does not really have an open political system. Although it is nominally a republic, following a coup in 1993 only one family has held the presidency. Heydar Aliyev ruled from 1993 until his death in 2003. His son, Ilham Aliyev, has ruled since 2003, and is expected to win a third presidential term in today’s election. In fact, he’s so expected to win that the Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan released an app for iOS and Android yesterday that, oops, accidentally had the election results preloaded.
Spotted by Meydan TV, an online alternative television station for Azerbaijan that’s based in Berlin, the app had incumbent Aliyev winning the election with 72.76 percent of the vote, while opposition candidate Jamil Hasanli only managed 7.4 percent. By contrast, even landslide presidential elections in the United States are rarely won with more than 60 percent of the popular vote, and a primary opposition party has never scored as low a total as 7.4. The tally has since been removed from the app.
Even without a rigged app, all signs point to victory for Aliyev, through legitimate means or otherwise. Exit polls already suggest a Aliyev victory. We’ll have to wait for the full results to see just how closely the recorded results resemble the app’s predetermined results.