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Liveblog: Azerbaijan Votes For President

Voters went to the polls in Azerbaijan today. President Ilham Aliyev, who has kept a tight grip on power, is expected to easily win a third term.

October 09, 2013

President Ilham Aliyev casts his ballot at a polling station in Baku.
President Ilham Aliyev casts his ballot at a polling station in Baku.

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23:10
October 09, 2013
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Final Update

-- Preliminary Central Election Commission figures put President Ilham Aliyev at about 85 percent and Camil Hasanli, the next closest candidate, at 5 percent.

-- PACE, the vote-monitoring group of the Council of Europe, announced earlier in the afternoon that its observers had not yet seen instances of fraud. A german observer mission called the elections "democratic." The opposition however, has condemned the vote, citing videos appearing online that seem to show fraud. One leader called it "the dirtiest election" in the history of post-independence Azerbaijan. 

-- RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service has recorded several instances of "carousel voting," where voters are bused in groups from one polling station to another.  

-- After the vote, Hasanli told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service: "We will continue to fight for the rights of our people. This government has no moral right to rule this country. The dictators who are assaulting the will of their nation must go. There is no other way."

-- Aliyev, who succeeded his father, Heydar, has been president since 2003. The country's constitution was changed in a referendum in 2009 to allow him to run for a third term.

-- For the first time, major opposition movements have united to form a single coalition. The group is supporting Camil Hasanli, a 61-year-old historian. While there are other candidates on the ballot, some openly support the current government and the opposition claims they are there only to present the appearance of open elections. 

-- Rights activists have complained of a government clampdown in advance of elections. In September, Human Rights Watch reported a "dramatic deterioration of the government's record on freedom of expression, assembly, and association." 

-- Glenn Kates
21:45
October 09, 2013
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Preliminary CEC results show Aliyev with 84.7 percent and Hasanli with 5.0 percent. Tallying is ongoing.
21:29
October 09, 2013
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Via Interfax, German election observers say the vote met democratic norms. 

"The election process itself was organized at a high level and meets such standards as in Germany, for example," said Eduard Lintner, the head of the German observer team. 

"All procedures stipulated by the  law were observed during  voting 
at all the polling stations that we visited. Our team did not notice any 
irregularities." 

According to Interfax, the German mission has 36 people, including members of the European parliament and the German Bundestag. 
20:23
October 09, 2013
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20:07
October 09, 2013
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Aliyev supporters celebrate. 
20:03
October 09, 2013
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 Ali Ahmadov, deputy head and executive secretary of the ruling YAP, speaking at celebrations in Baku, says "Ilham Aliyev's victory is the Azerbaijani people's victory."  

20:01
October 09, 2013
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According to CEC, 72.3 percent of voters turned out today.
19:49
October 09, 2013
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Arzu Geybulla, a blogger who is monitoring the elections: 

19:43
October 09, 2013
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From earlier in the day: Another carousel captured by our Azerbaijani Service, which witnessed the group of women voting in at least half a dozen polling stations. 

19:23
October 09, 2013
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Hasan Kerimov, a representative of Hasanli, speaking to Reuters in Baku:

"If previously authorities used to start rigging elections after five or six o'clock in the evening, this time they started doing it from the early morning, probably due to their lack of confidence. Our observers, our members of [the electoral] commission with the consultative mandate were barred from entering many polling stations and some of them were even taken to police stations."

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