Vote results expected Monday in Azerbaijan

Nov. 6, 2005 at 6:21 PM
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Election Day was peaceful Sunday in Azerbaijan after a parliamentary campaign marred by beatings and the arrest of opposition leaders.

Opponents of President Ilham Aliyev said the balloting was far from fair, the New York Times reported. Ali Kerimli, head of the Popular Front Party, told the Times that voters began reporting problems almost as soon as the polls closed -- including the stuffing of ballot boxes, people voting more than once and vote buying.

The results are expected to be available Monday morning with a report by international voting monitors scheduled for release in the afternoon. The major opposition parties have already scheduled demonstrations for Tuesday.

Election officials reported a low turnout of no more than 50 percent.

Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic on the Caspian Sea, has large oil reserves and no tradition of democracy. Aliyev succeeded his father in 2003 in a scandal-plagued election, but promised that the parliamentary election would be free and fair.

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