Tuesday, November 17

The plastic/fantastic first lady takes all the votes in under two hours...

I wish this post was about the Barbie doll song. Remember? 
"I'm a barbie doll, in the barbie world
Life in plastic, its fantastic..." 
Although really its only these two sentences that are relevant to my blog post today.

She can hardly put a smile on her face (because of all the plastic surgeries she has had). She doesn't meet with the common folk much unless its an opening of some sort or some charity event (probably afraid her expensive clothes would get ruined). She is more interested in her channel bags and fashion and galas promoting the Azerbaijan that doesn't really exist (someone has to spend the money the husband steals). But she is Azerbaijan's first lady and the wife of authoritarian, ruthless president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. 

But turns out she also won with the highest number of votes in the parliament elections in Azerbaijan. But not only she was the winner she was also the fastest vote collector. According to official resources, in just two hours of the 39309 people who cast their ballots at the precinct no.14 38029 voted for their lady. 

I guess life is still fantastic despite all the fake plastic...

Monday, November 2

Read between the lines- Azerbaijan AliyevYAPtions

So elections are over in Azerbaijan. We all knew the results ahead of time. In fact, not sure what was the point of having these elections. Even the voter turnout says enough. According to official results, over 56% of voter turnout. According to opposition, half of that if not less. Some say it was even around 10%. 

But, given this is Azerbaijan, and given voter's opinions never mattered, not since 1993 at least, there is no point in getting into deep and long conversations about the numbers. 

Long story short, the ruling party won (as if thats a surprise), and the "independents" who made it into the parliament, well, thats why I have quotation marks around that word. 

Not surprisingly, so far, none of the candidates of the "Freedom" block made it to the parliament. 

The main election body in Azerbaijan, the Central Election Committe rang the usual bells- all is well, all is good, great elections, transparency and bla bla bla. 

In the meantime, reports of mass violations kept coming in from independent observers with evidence of not only the usual ballot stuffing but also Azerbaijan's all time favorite by now, the carousel voting. Some of its main stars even smiled to the cameras as they walked from one station to another. I guess its the irony. 

And looks like Azerbaijan is headed for more tough times, so my sincere apologies and condolences to whatever civil society community and media thats left in the country. Winter is coming and it ain't our usual HBO series type of winter. Its going to be ugly with lots of ugly people telling us what to do, more arrests, intimidation, and probably even death. 

Yes, that might be the only resemblance with GoT but thats beside the point. 

How I know about this? Well, its easy, just read- between- the- lines of what Ali Hasanov, the chief atrocities perpetrator (although he falls way below the chief chief atrocity perpetrator in Azerbaijan, the he-who-shall-not-be-named but I am going to name him anyway Ramiz The Allmighty Mehdiyev). Where was I? Right the statement of Mr.Mustache Hasanov. 

And here is what I mean. Hasanov said the newly elected MPs (even though many of them were in their seats already) will carry on our parliament tradition. Which basically means if you don't know already, waste time, make useless remarks with sometimes more useless promises, pass more critical bills, limit more freedoms, get paid, get fat, and forget about human values. 

Of course he said more than this, but it doesn't matter because its the same type of nonsensical diatribe. So I won't waste any more of my nor yours time my dear reader on what else he said and how we should read it. Because as I said, it is all the same. Just simply think opposite- if Azerbaijan official utters the word democracy, think authoritarian, if he/she says transparent elections think violations, ballot stuffing and so on and so forth. Its easy, like a game. 

So what's next? Well, nothing really. Another theater play is over. And we are yet to see its side effects and I have a feeling there is going to be many.

Oh and in case you are interested, here are storify stories on yesterday's elections by me and another Azerbaijan watcher Rebecca Vincent.