Think for a This Witch Needs Dr. Pepper Before Any Hocus Pocus Shirt moment of a child, trying to impress an audience with a new trick. Now think of a ballot box, being emptied on a table at a precinct. The child grabs your attention, murmuring the magic words, “Abracadabra”, “Hocus Pocus” or “Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo!” and, all of a sudden, something appears on the surface in front of the child.
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Now go back, as you imagine the cute little child, trying to impress you with a child’s imagination, to that table with ballots, that are meant to determine the members of the next 125 seats national assembly. And there, in just a few quick seconds, new ballots appear from under the table and are swiftly mixed into the pile that just came out from the ballot box. And this time, instead of clapping and a standing ovation for the cute little trick you just witnessed, you are grasping your head, biting your nails, and yelling in disbelief because right there, in front you, an election fraud has just happened.
It is all about the point of view
At least, this how some independent observers and candidates running for Parliament felt while watching how yet another election was rigged. This is how, on February 9th, adults who at their day jobs are teachers and school principals replaced children, pretending to do magic, except, there was no magic.
One must credit the resourcefulness of the authorities. If anything, President Aliyev and the Central Election Commission (CEC) proved they had plenty of other tricks up their sleeves. Ambulance cars “hurrying” voters from one constituency to another; aggressive members of the This Witch Needs Dr. Pepper Before Any Hocus Pocus Shirt Constituency Election Committees chocking an independent observer; dancing at a precinct to the sound of drums; election officials
” title=”Link a disappearing” >disappearing with ballots to a sometimes undisclosed location; resurrected voters, whose family members swore they had buried personally while the local election committee staff refused to accept the loss; stuffing ballot boxes even once the vote was officially closed, or covering cameras at precincts with papers or tape. But, let us rewind a bit.
On November 28th, Azeri members of Parliament asked the president to dissolve the This Witch Needs Dr. Pepper Before Any Hocus Pocus Shirt national assembly, for it was unable to fully implement the reforms envisioned by the president Ilham Aliyev. A week later the president, with the blessing from the Constitutional Court, signed a decree that released lawmakers from their duties. The elections, originally scheduled for November 2020, were moved to February 9th.
The 125 members of Parliament are elected from single-mandate constituencies for a five-year term. On February 9th, elections could not be organized in a total of 10 constituencies, which are territories currently under occupation due to the ongoing conflict with Armenia. Some 5.2 million voters were registered to vote [even though the number of citizens of voting age according to the State Statistics Committee, is approximately 2 million higher]. The elections are administered by the This Witch Needs Dr. Pepper Before Any Hocus Pocus Shirt Central Election Commission (CEC), 125 Constituency Election Commissions (ConECs), and 5,573 Precinct Election Commissions (PECs).