Azerbaijan considering fine for failure to vote
Following the example of Turkey, Azerbaijan is considering the introduction of a ‘compulsory voting’ law, which means citizens could face a fine for failure to vote.
This proposal was made by the leader of the opposition Republican Alternative party Ilgar Mammadov and some social media users supported this initiative.
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Mammadov noted that the in the member-states of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) the average voter turnout is 68%, however, in Turkey, which is also a member of this organization, the figure reaches 86%.
“This difference in the figures can be explained by the fact that in Turkey, the participation in elections is compulsory. In other words, if voters fail to turn up, they are liable to a fine, albeit a small amount”, said the chairman of the Republican Alternative (REAL), Ilgar Mammadov.
“A government which is not afraid of fair competition will not be alarmed by the people’s turnout for elections, and will not campaign for a boycott. From this point of view, the political elite of Turkey deserves respect. It is true that this rule was introduced in Turkey in order to eradicate separatism, but ultimately this culture turned into one of the factors supporting democracy”, Ilgar Mammadov wrote on his Facebook page.
Turkey fines for non-attendance
The size of the fine for failure to appear in the elections in Turkey is set by the country’s High Election Commission before each vote.
During the 2019 municipal elections, the fine was 22 lira (approximately $4 at that time).
Voters who do not vote receive a notice of the imposed fine. Payment should be made within a month after receiving the notification at local post offices.
Social media reaction
Here is what the most comments on social media revolved around:
“If the fine is even only 10 manats, people will go to the polls, just not to pay this amount. So, the punishment for indifference to one’s future should be much harsher“.
“It would be great if a fine was introduced, say, 10 manat. Everyone would go to the polls and those who choose not to attend will replenish the country’s budget“.
“Do you believe that fair elections are held in Azerbaijan, and the only problem is only the voter turnout?“