Azerbaijani opposition calls for fresh elections

Multiple voting, falsified turnout and ballot stuffing allegations marred the November 1 parliamentary vote in Azerbaijan.

Musavat Party, ReAl Movement and Nida on Monday (November 2) called for new elections amid multiple vote-rigging claims. The three opposition groups also called for releasing political prisoners, creating conditions for “free and fair elections” and reforming the principle of forming electoral commissions, which are “under the full control of the government.”

“Massive violations occurred at all stages of the elections on the polling day,” ReAl Executive Secretary Natig Jafarli told

Kavkaz Uzel

. He noted cases of “carousel operations,” which allowed for multiple voting.

An earlier video by Meydan TV showed the head of Lankaran District Executive Authority in the south of Azerbaijan explain to a group of people how to carry out a “carousel operation.” In this video, Garashov apparently instructed participants that they would be taken to polling stations to cast ballots for the incumbent MP Rufat Guliyev. To this end, “


, “


 and “


are appointed.


 bring ten people to the carousel and report to


, who in turn report to


. The hierarchical structure of the carousel is designed to ensure Guliyev’s re-election.

Jafarli explained to

Kavkaz Uzel

that local authorities enlisted the help of municipal employees, including teachers and local government employees, to conduct the operations. He also alleged cases of ballot stuffing and voter turnout falsification.

The Institute for Democratic Initiatives (IDI), which observed the vote, echoed those claims. According to the Central Electoral Commission, the voter turnout was 55%. However, the IDI pegged the number at 25.52 and recorded multiple violations.

More than half of the polling stations (51.5%) witnessed cases of multiple voting, and 64% experienced ballot stuffing, according to the IDI. In 42% of cases, ballots did not contain voters’ signatures. The watchdog also recorded cases of pressure on voters and presence of police at the polling stations. A third of polling stations saw police presence within 100 meters of the site. In 18% of the recorded cases, voting took place outside of the voting booth, according to the IDI.

Multiple cases of harassment of journalists were also reported. In a video obtained by Meydan TV, a journalist observing the election in the Narimanov-Nizami constituency was harassed, insulted and kicked out of the polling station.

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