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RFE/RL Reports: Azerbaijan Heads To The Polls

Azerbaijan -- People walk past an election information board with portraits of presidential candidates is pictured in Baku, October 7, 2013
Despite pressure from Azerbaijan’s Central Election Commission over “illegal” reporting, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service has been on the ground providing unbiased, independent reporting on the increasingly tense and violent political landscape leading up to the presidential election on Wednesday, October 9. A sampling of reports:

# While Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev is widely expected to win a third term, this may be the first Azerbaijani election where the opposition has delivered surprising impact in an otherwise routine race.

# Organizers estimated that up to 10,000 people took part in the final election rally for opposition candidate Camil Hasanli this past Saturday, although police in Baku stated that only 1,500 people attended.

# As police looked on, a group of journalists from independent and opposition media outlets were attacked by a pro-government mob while covering a Hasanli rally on Friday in Sabirabad.

# Family members of opposition candidates have also been targeted for abuse. The son of Hasanli’s spokesman is recovering in a Baku hospital after being stabbed and beaten by unknown assailants, while the son of another member of Hasanli’s election team was recently sentenced to 25 days in prison.

# The head of the media arm of Azerbaijan’s Central Election Commission condemned the “propaganda mode” of presidential election coverage by RFE/RL and other independent media outlets after complaints from the ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party about “illegal” campaign coverage by foreign media outlets.

For breaking news and additional election coverage of Azerbaijan, follow Azerbaijan's Radio Azadliq.

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