The theater of the absurd: act 3 – municipal elections

In Azerbaijan, yet another rigged election.

On December 23, Azerbaijan held nationwide local elections. There were no international observers. These were the fourth municipal elections since Azerbaijan first established municipalities in 1999.

Some 37,000 registered candidates ran for 15,035 seats. There are in total 1607 municipalities in Azerbaijan.

But it wasn’t without vote rigging and ballot stuffing as per the country’s long and by now established tradition of rigged elections.



shot by one of Meydan TV’s local reporters the morning of the Election Day was proof of just how much care and attention is given to elections in Azerbaijan. The legitimacy of the video was contested immediately after it went online first for the time stamp discrepancy, then for the origin of the material but none of the accusations could really explain the extent to which elections in Azerbaijan have become part of the theater of the absurd in this country.

Below, we present you the transcript from that video [following the shot of ballot stuffing] between Afruza Hajiyeva, the teacher and member of the precinct election commission and the journalist filming the precinct and the ballot stuffing.

Afruza Hajiyeva: Who put 10-15 ballots in the box? Come over here.

Journalist: I have filmed how she stuffed 10-15 ballots in the box.

Afruza: No. No. Go inside!

Journalist: Take your hands off me.

Afruza: Go inside! I will not take my hands off you. You are lying!

Your accusation is based on lies! I am telling this. I won’t take my hands off you!

Journalist: I have got facts in my hands!

Afruza: What facts have you got? Did you come here as a fink?

Journalist: Fink!? Take your hands off me!

Afruza: Call Elshad over here!

Journalist: I am a journalist. Take your hands off me!

Afruza: What journalist are you? Who stuffed ballots?

Journalist: Take your hands off me!

Afruza: What? Hands off? Will you attack me? Will you attack me? Yes?

Will you attack me?

Journalist: Take your hands off me.

Voices in the background: Go inside!

Afruza: Call Elshad over here!

Voice in the background: Afruza let him go.

Afruza hitting the journalist: What do you want from me? You are lying! Who stuffed ballots?

Journalist: What are you doing?!

Afruza: You are driving me mad! Hold him!

Journalist: I am a journalist! I have filmed it!

Crowd voices

Journalist: I am not lying!

Voice in the background: Get him inside the room.

Journalist: I have a press ID! I am a journalist! I showed it!

Afruza: Who did you show it to?

Journalist: I showed my ID!

Voice in the background: Wait a minute. You are big boy, you are a

journalist, but you are lying that someone put 15 ballots in the box.

Journalist: Here is my press ID.

Voice: It is fake! We will check it!

Journalist: It is not fake. Call the police and have it checked! Call now!

Seconds later

Journalist: Don’t tear down my ID! Give it to me!

Afruza (after tearing it down): Take it!

Seconds later

Afruza: Fuck off. Stupid guy! What can you do after all?

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