When the BBC referred to Azerbaijan's Ilham Aliyev as the "Pre-Determined President," they weren't kidding around.
Labeled a decisive "not free" by Freedom House, the former Soviet Republic has been ruled by Aliyev for a decade — and by his father for the decade before that — so it isn't exactly the flagship nation of Democracy.
But even the harshest of dictatorships had to raise an eyebrow after Azerbaijan's highly corrupt Central Election Commission released the results of yesterday's election 24 hours before the election was set to start.
The Washington Post's Max Fisher explains:
The vote counts – spoiler alert: Aliyev was shown as winning by a landslide – were pushed out on an official smartphone app run by the Central Election Commission. It showed Aliyev as "winning" with 72.76 percent of the vote. That's on track with his official vote counts in previous elections: he won ("won"?) 76.84 percent of the vote in 2003 and 87 percent in 2008.
Surprisingly, election officials felt the need to excuse the gaffe, but, not surprisingly, gaffed that up as well by claiming that the app's developer accidentally published the results from the 2008 election — except that the names of the "candidates" were different five years ago.
Whatever: Aliyev went on to win the race — and even beat his own made-up numbers.