State Department Denies Allegation U.S. Advised Election Rigging in Azerbaijan

Ilham Aliyev / AP


The U.S. State Department denied allegations from a top Azerbaijani official that the United States advised Azerbaijan to rig its sham presidential elections last week in order to make President Ilham Aliyev’s landslide victory appear more believable.

The Chief of Presidential Administration Ramiz Mehdiyev told reporters this week that the U.S. State Department "advised us to give 25 percent of votes to a representative of country's National Council, while leaving the remaining 74-75 percent to the candidate of the ruling party … As if having such votes ratio, the U.S. Department of State would have given a balanced assessment of the elections."

The State Department has criticized the election as falling short of international standards.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki called Mehdiyev’s claims "completely false" at Tuesday’s press briefing.

Aliyev won nearly 85 percent of the vote in an election that international observers say was marred with ballot-stuffing and assorted fraud. The Azerbaijan government released election results in a revealing slip-up showing an overwhelming victory for Aliyev a full day before the polls even opened.

U.S. lobbying groups and shadowy "Western observer" organizations have pushed back on the criticism and say the election was legitimate.

Mehdiyev also attempted to deflect the international condemnation by claiming the U.S. elections are illegitimate.

"The whole world knows about level of falsification in the presidential elections in the U.S. and about the scandals that accompany the electoral process in this country each time. And then they try to teach us how to conduct elections," he told reporters.

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