Today citizens of Azerbaijan can vote on the proposal to amend the nation's constitution. This change is being done to give the citizens more freedom - the freedom to provide their unlimited support for the current president - Ilham Aliyev. (This is how the president himself has characterized the initiative!)
As I write this in Eastern Massachusetts, the polls should be closed in Azerbaijan. But - knowing the results of the vote does not require detailed analysis. A boycott of the referendum by opposition parties was announced on March 10. (The opposition also boycotted last year's presidential elections.)
My colleagues in Azerbaijan held a series of forums on the referendum in three regions and in the capital. My colleagues said that the local authorities interfered with them in some locations - but in general the forums went well. But - how could a few forums address the fundamental problems posed by this change. As in the presidential election, everyone knew the vote that was desired by the president and his ruling party - and it would be really amazing if the electorate did not provide this vote.
One way or another.
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