In Azerbaijan, getting election results before an election is apparently one of the many perks of having a smart phone. A mobile app offered by the country’s election authorities was meant to allow users to track the voting process, but, instead, it apparently posted final-results data -- even before the October 9 election day -- that showed incumbent President Ilham Aliyev soaring above all other candidates.
Looks like the supposed technical glitch, which gave Aliyev 72.76 percent of the vote, now has been corrected, but screenshots of the original version are making the rounds online. Meydan TV, an eager government critic, was the first news outlet to break the story, presenting it as blatant evidence of election-rigging.
Some, however, have suggested human error.
The app's purported developer, Vusal Isayev, the manager of digital marketing agency Happy Baku, argued on Facebook that the original application was a test version and contained data from the 2008 election, won by Aliyev, just like the election before it.
Critics find such reasoning far-fetched since the app contained the names of current candidates. Jamil Hasanli, the main opposition candidate, received 7.4 percent of the vote; a piece of data not likely to encourage opposition-sympathizers to give the Central Election Commission the benefit of the doubt.
How this data managed to slip past the attention of both the developers and the CEC remains an open question.
But then, it may not prove to be an incorrect prediction at all. The Aliyev dynasty has ruled the roost in Azerbaijan for a total of about 40 years, and Ilham Aliyev is expected to cruise to a third term without a hitch -- whether on the level or not.
The app's creators say they create “happy projects" and "deliver happiness to our customers." While the Azerbaijani CEC may be less than delighted, looks like President Aliyev already has, in effect, received many happy returns of the day.