Azerbaijan’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) announced yesterday the final official returns of the October 11 presidential election. It credited incumbent President Haidar Aliev with 76 percent of the votes cast, Etibar Mamedov with 11.6 percent, Nizami Suleimanov with 8.6 percent and three other candidates with less than 1 percent each. From the official set of figures, the voter turnout could be construed as 70.7 percent. Aliev is thus reelected president on the first round. In presenting the returns, CEC Chairman Jafar Veliev conceded that violations of the electoral law had occurred in the balloting and the counting process, but described those violations as “minor and not influencing the outcome in any significant way.”
Mamedov and Suleimanov confirmed their intention to challenge the result in court. Each of them claims to be the runner-up to Aliev, and both hope to run in a second round, one-on-one against Aliev. They claim that Aliev fell short of the 67 percent needed for a first-round victory (Turan, AzadInform, October 15; see the Monitor, October 13 and 14, on the foreign observers’ preliminary assessments; and the Monitor, September 22 and October 8-9, on the opposition leaders’ profiles).
TASHKENT ISLAMISTS ON TRIAL.