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Azerbaijani election app announced winner before polls even opened

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The official mobile app for tracking the Azerbaijan election got a little premature in announcing a victory for the incumbent – by doing so a good 12 hours before voting had even opened.

Not only did the app, which comes from the Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan, report on Tuesday that incumbent president Ilham Aliyev had attained a huge majority but also reported on regional votes and turnout for Wednesday's elections, as documented by Meydan TV.

The broadcaster, which is based in Berlin to protect its infrastructure from the Azerbaijani government, contacted the app developer who initially claimed that old numbers had been used to test the app and these had obviously leaked into the live version.

When it was pointed out that the data references existing members of the opposition (and awards them a paltry 7.4 per cent of the vote) he apparently refused to discuss the matter further and closed his Facebook account.

It seems unlikely that a mobile app would have been pre-populated with fraudulent data, though videos of apparent vote stuffing and carousel voting (where the same voter is seen at different polling stations) are already surfacing in an election few believe will be without bias.

The BBC reports Aliyev has won, based on exit polls, but whether that's down to effective economic policies or suppression of the media, combined with oppression of the opposition, is debatable. Although the number of voters apparently supporting Aliyev turns out to be slightly higher than the 76.76 per cent recorded in the app, there's still some significant questions to be answered in the Caucasian country. ®

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