Darling, how much do you love me?
Preparation for the elections
The election campaign proceeded peacefully and unnoticeably. MP candidates were hardly known to people. Many had anticipated televised pre-election debates, but there were neither fights nor scandals, since there were no TV-debates at all. The only ‘splash of color’ was a flamboyant singer, Elsa Seiddzhahan, who put forward her candidacy.
Debates in social networks
Just the day before the elections, the Facebook users, as usual, asked themselves: shall we actually go there or not? Active citizens reproached less active ones:
‘Those, who do not go to the polls, provoke rigging of elections through their own civic passivity. Mind that if you don’t vote, they will vote instead of you’
Those people bit back listlessly:
‘I have not gone, because I don’t even know whom to vote for. I haven’t seen a single poster anywhere. Earlier, the benches were painted and trees were whitewashed for the sake of propriety, whereas this time, there was nothing of this kind. It’s as plain as it can be!
‘Why don’t you get off your butt and go to polls?’
Reporters complained of boredom:
‘Elections are tomorrow and journalistic mob is either asleep or is celebrating Halloween. I don’t remember as boring elections as these ones. Maybe they should be cancelled’
And everyone was practicing wittiness:
‘- Darling, how much do you love me?
– Imagine, I am a 70-year-old MP and you are a seat (seat in Parliament).
– Oh … and I love you too! ‘
One of the most ‘ancient’ Azerbaijani forums tried to launch a discussion on an acute topic:
‘Today is October 11 and I don’t understand, why isn’t there a single theme about elections. Elections are the major political event for the society. Have you made any inquiries about the candidates from your precinct? Are you aware about their goals and plans in case they get seats in country’s Parliament? How is your civic stance manifested? Thank you’.
A lengthy chain of comments has been received on the aforesaid:
‘What candidates, what elections?!’
‘Indeed, are there still people, who truly believe that there are some mystic candidates, elected by also mystic voters?!’
That very day
The situation livened up on the election day. A polarity of titles could be observed in Mass Media by the end of the day.
The oppositional print media talked about violations during the process and at the end of the day condemned the election as unfair.
PACE mission: ‘We recognize the elections, but the human rights activists should be released
‘The Election Commission doubled the number of voters.’
‘November 1 elections were not free, fair and democratic.’
Pro-governmental media hailed the triumph of justice:
CEC Chairman: ‘Even the PACE has assessed the elections in Azerbaijan as normal.’
Ombudsman’s Office: ‘The parliamentary elections were conducted in a democratic, free, transparent and fair atmosphere.’
Russian Foreign Ministry: ‘OSCE ODIHR’s refusal to send its observers to the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan was rather surprising.’
‘The PACE observer mission’s assessment is a triumph of law and justice’
Meanwhile, there was not similar polarity in the Facebook: active users reported in unison on different kinds of violations, shared photos of rigged ballots and sadly joked.
Heroes, voting without passports
Passport numbers voting on their own
‘This morning, I’ve met a neighbor, who lost his ID … So, that tyrant went to the polls yesterday and cast his vote … I am asking him: how did you vote? … and that rascal is just standing and silly smiling… And it seems to me, he voted at several polling stations. ‘
‘If I were paid 1 Manat per word ‘transparent’, uttered by AzTV during the last half an hour, I would afford buying one MP.’
There were reports about two person, entering one and the same voting booth, as well as protesters taken to the police station, and etc.
Politically passive users have either ignored the topic or condoled to those, who died in a Russian plane crash on the eve.
According to official data, voter turnout made 25 percent, which is sufficient to recognize the elections as valid.
The average age of MPs is close to 70.
There are no representatives of the key oppositional parties in Parliament. Some of them decided to boycott the elections from the very beginning, others refused to participate in the process. The ‘Musavat’ party, ‘REAL’ and ‘NİDA’ civic movement, said, they demanded annulment of the results of November 1 parliamentary elections and conduct of repeat ballot.
PACE recognized parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan.The officials of the U.S. State Department and UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office reproached Azerbaijani government for its failure to comply with the commitments assumed before the OSCE. Official Baku responded by criticizing the OSCE ODIHR. When saying that this structure refused to send its observer mission to Baku and boycotted the elections, the word ‘boycott’ in media titles is put in quotation marks, just to be on the save side.
Inscription: Ballot box