Referendum in Azerbaijan
Mazahir Panahov, the CEC Chairman, announced the early results of voting at 2 a.m., on September 27. The citizens of Azerbaijan approved with enviable unanimity all the amendments and changes to the Constitution.
- 84,9% voted for non-abuse of their rights.
- 85,2% voted for restriction of land ownership in the best interests of social justice.
- 91,2 % voted for extension of the term of presidency.
The amendment on removal of presidential age-limit and introduction of the Vice-President’s post, also enjoyed the whole-hearted support.
As Ali Hasanov, the President’s Aide on Socio-Political Affairs, told TASS news agency, “A new governance institute will ensure adequacy of the presidential form of government and create the conditions for optimal functioning of state governance mechanisms in force majeure situations.
The Venice Commission has expressed concern about nearly all proposed amendments, saying they upset the balance between the branches of government and give the president unprecedented powers.
The videos featuring violations in course of the voting process have been ‘passed’ through social media.
The referendum started in Azerbaijan at 8 a.m., today. The country’s citizens were deciding, whether the amendments should be introduced to the Constitution or not. Mazahir Panahov, the Chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC), stated that over 53,000 observers, including the international ones, would monitor the process.
The independent monitoring structures and observers from the opposition were not allowed to monitor the process.
Later, Stefan Shennak, the Co-rapporteur of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, noted that the ballot was well-organized and that the majority of voters in Baku were women.
The Central Election Commission reported at 10:30 a.m., 12,9% of the electorate cast their ballots. As it was reported in the midday, 30% of the electorate took their vote. By 5p.m., the number of voters who cast their ballot made 63,3%
The referendum is considered valid if the number of voters participating in it has made at least 25%.
The ballot finished at 7 p.m.
Media and World
The governmental media, such as apa.az, reported that the voting proceeded ideally. Meanwhile, the opposition and independent mass media reported on numerous violations during the polls.
As it usually happens in Azerbaijan before the elections, in this case there have been also 2 major trends on social media.
1. There is no sense voting, since everything has been already decided on my behalf
“I am not going to the referendum, and none of my acquaintances will go there either
I don’t trust anyone.
“The head of our electoral precinct is my relative, so she told me to sit at home calmly and they will fill in everything there in my stead. In any case, I went there and walked around the precinct, it was empty, nobody was there.
“I went and cast the ballot, my ‘conscience’ is, sort of, ‘clear. But I got very angry, I didn’t expect such impudent violations (one ballot box was fully filled). I will write more details in the evening…
2. Raise up and express your civic position
“I went and cast my vote, so that I wouldn’t feel ashamed before my grandchildren, when they ask where I was while the country was falling apart.
“The problem is that our people are very passive. Someone hasn’t been brought a ballot notification, and they don’t care much about it, while others are absolutely unaware and are asking me, whom I will vote for.
Don’t be passive or, otherwise, it is going to be worse tomorrow. Go to polls and express your civic position.