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Center for National and International Studies
The dominating topic of FB were falsifications and results of the parliamentary elections, state violence during and after elections, decision of REAL activist Erkin Gadirli to join new parliament, cancellation of the voting results in some precincts.
The civil activist and REAL member Zohrab Ismayil writes about necessity of the alternative data to clarify the true winners in the precincts. Based on such data, he published the list of some of those who in reality won the race in their precincts.In precinct 11- Sehavet Soltanli, 12- Natig Jafarli, 16- Erkin Gadirli, 19- Isa Gambar, 21- Farhad Mehdiyev, 23- Zaur Darabzade, 29- Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, 31- Mehman Huseynov, 41- Vasif Ismayil, 76- Khalid Bagirov.
Yadigar Sadyghli, the candidate at the 73 precinct, shares his experience: “ At polling station 18 the commission chair Mirza Abdullayev did not let my observer in because the ID did not indicate the number of the polling station. I explained him, that the observer can be at any place during the elections. Then I have asked why the bulletins are not on the table and recorded it on video, he tried to prevent me from that and then has drawn up an act for the police. I rushed to the other polling station, and later was called by the police, based on the act, which they received from the commission chair , and I had to write an explanation.”.. “ There is a saying that to know the person, you need to travel together. This is not true, to know really the person- how decent, principled, pure, devoted he/she is you need to see him/her in elections…” “… I have an observer, he is an ordinary man ( I do not write his name to avoid problems for him) , cannot event write in Latin alphabet, only in Cyrillic, but that scale of courage, decency, nobility, principled stance is much greater than those of highly educated people working for the election commissions”. He also mentions the case, depicted on video, widely shared when the voter’s lists had the name of the deceased and the member of the election commission sincerely replies ( with the cosmic impudence, by the words of Sadyghli) to the protest of his relative: “ He is dead for you, but not for us!”. In regards the same video, Altay Geyushov commented, that “ If we mentioned it to Mirza Jalil ( famous Azerbaijani satirical author of the 19th-20th centuries) he would say: Come on!”
Yadigar Sadyghli also reported that in spite of the immunity of the candidates Ahad Mammadli and Ruslan Izzetli they were detained by police. He responds to the claims of those, who said that the elections would be falsified anyway, with the list of benefits of participating rather than boycotting.1) He made himself known to his electorate 2) has also made known his values and views, 3) showed some leadership for the young people wishing to srat political career 4) printed his flyers in two languages, including in talysh, and this was an innovation, an element of the political culture, which he desired to make previous times, but was either not registered, or under arrest etc., and believed that it would be spread widely in the future.5) participation in election should be turned into a habit and the experience should be accumulated. 6) the elections are over, but the process continues, as he will try to prepare better himself and his constituency for the next elections, working harder on principles and integrity, so the teachers would say “no” to falsifications etc. “Hence,-concludes Sadyghli,- as you see, my last two months were much more effective compared to if I did not participate. And for all those who helped me and voted for me I extend my deep gratitude”.
Nurlan Libre reports on his timeline, that Nigar Arpadarai in connection with being “ appointed” to the parliament resigned from her position at the Formula One Committee.
Gubad Ibadoglu analyses the damage from the falsified elections for the country, society and their future. He writes that the worst damage during last 3 elections, conducted in 2 years, was made to the education sector, as due to the participation of the teachers in the falsification mechanism, their reputation was seriously undermined. Hence he suggests few measures to correct the situation.1) The schools should be given administrative and financial autonomy, academic freedoms should be provided; the regional education sectors should be taken away from the control of the respective executive departments, for that the education sectors should be divided not on the regional, but zonal bases. 2) Directors and their deputies should be not appointed, but elected and the participation of the parents NGOs should be provided 3) the teachers should regularly pass professional tests and the contracts should be at least of 5 year term.4) The teachers who participated in the falsification of elections should be prohibited from their profession for life, and the criminal liability should be applied to such cases, which should be qualified as the serious crimes. He also suggests to prohibit polling stations at schools.
Ali Kerimli comments widely on the post-election protests state violence:” Can a person with honour hit a woman? Can he/she hit a journalist? Lets forget about journalists or women, why should police beat up the Azerbaijani citizens? But yesterday police viciously mistreated women journalists covering a peaceful post-election protest. Sevinj Vagifgizi was hit in the face and arm, being operated last year Aynur Elgunesh was hit in the head and then beaten while on the ground, Khadija Ismayil was knocked to the ground and hit. Aytaj Tapdıg, Khayala Agayeva, Ulviyya Ali, Sada Hasanova, Aygün Rashid, Nargiz Absalamova were all insulted and beaten up by police. The director of the site «Basta» Musafa Hajibeyli was brutally beaten up in the bus just in front of the CEC. There is also an information about broken finger of the candidate Rabiyya Mammadova and broker ribs of the 60 year old activist Arzulla Buludlu. Fascism reached the point, when the hospitals refused to give medical assistance and treatemnt to the injured by police. And now I am asking: How did Aliyev’s regime benefitted from this cruelty give to the regime of Aliyev? If not this savage behaviour, what would it lose? Lets forget about law, which have been violated for a long time already. But in today’s governance along with law,neither intelligence nor logic participates. Friends, after all these are there still those left, who ask the question: but if these will go, who will come to replace them?” or at last, everyone understood that it is simply not possible to govern worse that this?!”
The journalist Seymour Hezi also adds on the results of elections and the violent outcome of the post-election protests: “ To those who said” we will use the opportunities opened with these elections” the president gave an answer last evening. The person with immunity ( The candidate Rabiyya Mammadova- L.A.) was left with the broken finger.. Protest is an important right, but also the necessity of living here. The president proved that he did not plan to provide either for the rights, or the needs of people. And the only way to influence him is through organized people power!” He quotes the dialogue of a journalist with the “observer”: Which party do you represent? The answer: “ YAP”. “ Who is the chair of YAP” The answer: “ They did not tell us” ( this was widely shared on FB- L.A.)
Altay Geyushov comments: “ Even before the elections the Pashayevs’ lobbyists abroad were spreading the narrative that themselves want reforms and fair elections, but the “old guards” are preventing and creating obstacles for that. And they manage even to convince in this some stupid part of our society. Now after the show, the protest action of the showmen serves the same purpose. Nothing changes in substance, the windmill and corruption is in place, but the image of Pashayevs as progressive grouping is intensely being created and imposed in people’s minds. It is clear, that they will convince part of the society, divide it, and will continue to steal. But this time along with the “young guards”. I am writing this, so the generations, which will come after these carnivores, will know, that not everyone was stupid in this country.”
Natig Jafarli of REAL comments on elections, comparing it with animation film, that they have struggled for its fairness until late night, while applying various rather creative methods to break the falsification mechanism.
Ali Kerimli quotes the statement by the second largest faction in the European Parliament : “ The authoritarian regime of Aliyev has lost another opportunity to listen to its people. The new EU- Azerbaijan agreement cannot be ratified until Azerbaijan complies fully with the international obligations on respect for fundamental human rights” and comments: The degree of election falsifications of Aliyev regime at last forced the international organizations speak to it in a relevant language”.
Tofig Yagublu comments on the police violence at the post-
election protest: “ I do not see the difference between the savage violence of the police yesterday towards the protesters and the Armenians, who occupied our lands and killed our people. And the order came from the very top”
Ilkin Rustamzade also comments: “ Yesterday during the violent dispersion of the protest the most outstanding moment was the order : “ Disperse, but neatly!” The call of a “neatly” dispersion of the protesters to the “neatly” results of the elections. However, the same way the elections did not come out neatly, the dispersal also failed to be neatly.”
Ordukhan Babirov, the activist in exile, also comments on violence: “ Khudayar ( the nickname he gave to the president- L.A.) said to people — “come out to the square and we will listen to you! Meaning, that “we will beat you up”. Oh, what a traitor you are, Khudayar!”
Samir Kazimli, the journalist and civic activist writes: “ This is nice, that there was a snap election. We used this opportunity to discredit the falsified election system of the regime all over the world, and nobody now will believe in the fairy tales about reforms”
Taleh Khasammadov reports the case of resistance to the falsification system: “ A chair of the commission in Kurdamir precinct has waited until the expiry of deadline – midnight- in order not to sign the fake protocol. And eventually signed the other, true one with the words: “ I can not go against my dignity, honour and sign the fake protocol!” here we should also praise the observers who were waiting for 5 hours proving the true number of votes”
The candidate Ziya Guliyev posts the statement by the group of candidates running from 30 Surakhani precinct on his timeline. They stress that the elections were conducted in violation of the few articles of the Constitution and demand cancel the results and appoint the by-elections.
Earlier the similar statement by a group of 9 candidates running from the 19 Narimanov precinct was published by the candidate Isa Gambar on his timeline. The proofs of total falsification were submitted and it was demanded to cancel the voting results in this precinct.
There are heated debates about decision of Erkin Gadirli to join the parliament.
The young people, activists has been divided on this issue. Some prominent journalists and activists, such as investigative journalist Khadija Ismayil, Ilkin Rustamzade of NIDA expressed their strongly negative attitudes, while Emin Milli, or members of REAL supported him. The arguments of those, who disapproved this step referred to his pre-election statement in which he listed conditions which would make him not to join the parliament. The list included negative assessment by the foreign observers, proofs of falsifications at his precinct etc. The activists blamed him not to be consistent, while both 1 and 2 conditions were in place. Some blamed him for the lack of principled position and loyalty to the government, lack of solidarity with the others. Samed Rahimli writes: “ Decision of Erkin Gadirli to go to the parliament is total mistake, first of all because he did not keep his promise. But may be it is better to focus on more substantial issues now..” Ilkin Rustamzade calls it a principled question., a red line, and an issue of dignity. “ Everyone who defends him is an opportunist like Gadirli”. The activist in exile Ramis Yunus wrtites: “ Why are you surprised ? Did not Gadirli speak softly in regards Aliyevs-Pashayevs for a few last years already? He did it at the hearings in the US Congress, European meetings and his tsatemnts in Azerbaijan. Here is an award!” Fuad Agayev, the famous human rights lawyer, supports him: “ Some of our intellectuals rather than admitting their transformation into the marionette in this election game, made up the justifying arguments which make even cooked chicken laugh. They speak about necessity to educate people”.. The journalist Hezi bey comments: “ They shamelessly say, that the future will show correctness of Gadirli’s decision. No, it is not the future, it is the past which showed it. The fates of Fazil, Gudrat ( the MPs, who became “ pocket” opposition) are indicative… Have some conscience, it is shameful…” However, Cavid Qara comments: “ If falsification took place without Gadirli knowing about it, and when it was revealed he objected to that, and that it did not influence the outcome of voting — then what is the problem?” Natig Jafarli of REAL in turn writes in defence of Gadirli that since 2000 he has rejected the mandate of MP 4 times. If he did it again this time, what would he achieve? Nothing except for a couple of days of appraisals in the FB. In contrary, if he joins the parliament this time he would become an important herald and voice for the party and the democratic community. He will be able to submit initiatives and draft laws signed by 40 thousands citize,ns he will be able to get draft budget and thus increase the public monitoring, he will demand release of the detained activists etc. “ Samir Kazimli comments with humour: “ In fact, the argument is not about Erkin, but about two Erkins. The one before elections said that if OSCE/ODIHR gives negative opinion on elections, I will not join the parliament, while today’s Erkin says, that even if OSCE/ODIHR gives the negative opinion, I will join the parliament. And here we are- stuck between two Erkins”
Referring to the last election experience, Gubad Ibadoglu speculates about the professor Marston’s lie detector and its applicability in Azerbaijan.He considers that the level of cheating reached such a high level in Azerbaijan, that there is a need to invent a new lie detector. “ I wonder whether those, who have nothing but empty jars in their fridges, who afford buying only bread from supermarkets, look with envy at the expensive cars in front of the cafes and restaurants, walk the city because of the 30 pennies bus ticket in searches for jobs, because of the unpaid debt have to change the route and pass by the neighbour, friend or a relative to avoid facing them, those, who are trapped in the unpaid credits, and are ashamed to put hand in their pocket in the presence of their children- do they believe all these red lies and “development fairy tales” ?” He continues that the new model of lie detector was 55 dollars, but due to the market dynamic fell to 9 dollars. He suggests that there will be a big market for that in Azerbaijan, so may be it is worth to import it?
Ali Kerimli , the leader of the Popular Front Party and the National Council, stresses the role of the naming and shaming campaign in social networks related to the falsification of elections. He speaks about thousands of users sharing materials about it, including by famous people, who also joined campaign. The younger people, who believed the story of “ reforms” just two days before, were horrified by the scale of falsifications. The gap between people and the regime after 9 February falsified elections has increased. Ilham Aliyev with his own hands buried the trust in his “reforms”.
Ziya Guliyev, the candidate, placed in the table the data of turnover by the observers and number of filled bulletins provided by the CEC in his and other precincts. The difference between the real number of voters and the bulletins varies from 1,5 to 2 times.
The FB users share and comment with irony the decision to cancel results in 4 precincts, most of commentaries urging a cancellation overall results of the elections. Majority ridicule statement by the chairman of the CEC Mazahir Panahov, who expressed his gratitude to observers for placing the videos with electoral violations on FB.