Controversial Constitutional Referendum is Marred with Violations

September 27th, 2016

konst

On 26 September a referendum on the controversial constitutional changes took place in Azerbaijan. Civil society organisations and opposition parties denounced the referendum as illegitimate and not representative of the will of the people.

According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), the voter turnout was 69.7 percent, and all the proposed constitutional amendments, including the extension of the presidential term from five to seven years and abolition of the minimum age requirement for the presidential candidates, were approved by at least over 80 per cent of the voters.

As more evidence came to light of violations in the poll on last Monday it became clear that skewed media coverage, restrictions on debate and campaigning, was supplemented by an array of violations on voting day itself.

The day of the referendum was marred by electoral fraud – ballot stuffing and multiple votes by the same individuals in different districts occurred on a large scale. The extent of fraud during the referendum vote demonstrates that the results certainly do not represent the will of the Azerbaijani population but merely reflect the interests of the ruling regime.

On the day of the vote, ССTV cameras were installed in 1000 out of 5627 electoral polling stations that recorded thousands of serious voting violations. The video recordings from the polling stations are going to be kept by the CEC for the upcoming five years. Revisiting these recordings would unequivocally demonstrate that the turnout on the voting day was two to three times less than the reported 69.7 percent.