"Citizens are active in the elections held in Azerbaijan too..."
This was said by Sabir Rustamkhanli, MP of the Milli Majlis, Chairman of the Civil Solidarity Party, to Abzas Media while talking about the presidential elections held in Turkey with 88.92% voter turnout (p. 3).
Fakt Yoxla checked whether the claim was true.
April 11, 2018, extraordinary presidential elections
The Central Election Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan (CEC) said that 74.30% of voters participated in these elections, that is, 3.9 million out of 5.3 million voters participated in the voting (p. 3).
The Election Observation Mission (EOM) of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) discovered serious inconsistencies while observing voter turnout and voting results in these elections: “... strongly indicate that figures were constructed and raise questions if the turnout was genuinely reported and if vote counting process was properly conducted.” (p. 68)
The Election Monitoring and Democracy Education Center (EMDE) observed the elections in 125 polling stations in 110 constituencies in these elections. The organization said in its final report (p. 3) that the voter turnout recorded by EMDE was substantially lower than the official figures: "In general, in more than 50 percent of the polling stations, people whose names are not on the electoral list are allowed to vote, the cases of one person participating in voting several times and throwing fake ballots into ballot boxes give reason to claim that voter turnout is artificially exaggerated."
According to the information received by EMDE, voter turnout in 125 randomly selected polling stations was 43.6%, in which CEC reported 30% more voter turnout.
December 23, 2019, municipal elections
According to CEC information (p. 4), voter turnout in these elections was 32.69%. In other words, 1.6 million out of 5 million voters participated in the voting.
EMDE noted that the election activity is lower than the figures shown by the CEC. So, according to the observations of EMDE, voter turnout was 21.3%, which is 11% less than the CEC indicators. It should be noted that EMDE made an observation in 125 polling stations in 118 constituencies.
Indicators of CEC and EMDE regarding voter turnout in the 2019 municipal elections. (Source: EMDE)
Also, EMDE noted that the elections were held in a non-transparent manner, in more than 40% of precincts, one person voted several times and ballots were thrown into the ballot boxes.
February 9, 2020, extraordinary parliamentary elections
According to CEC, voter turnout in the February 9, 2020, elections was 46.84%. In other words, about 2.5 million out of 5.3 million voters voted in these elections.
In its final report, the ODIHR EOM said that serious violations were detected during these elections and that the process was not transparent at many points. Changing the figures on voter turnout was also mentioned as one of these violations (p. 29).
In addition to these shortcomings, EMDE also reported inconsistencies and questionable facts about voter turnout. So, the observers of EMDE recorded that the voter turnout observed in 35% of the precincts was 50% lower than the voter turnout figures reflected in the official protocols.
The Institute of Democratic Initiatives (IDI) observed voter turnout in 33 polling stations in these elections. According to IDI observations, voter turnout at the end of 33 constituencies was 20.56%. However, according to the Central Election Commission, voter turnout in these constituencies as of 19:00 had not been specified.
Comparison of the figures announced by CEC and IDI in the respective districts under observation (Source: IDI).
As it is known from the comparison, the figures on voter turnout announced by the IDI are about 50% lower than the indicators of the CEC.
Thus, the CEC noted that voter turnout in the last 2 elections (in 2019 and 2020) was less than 50%. The data of EMDE and IDI on voter turnout in the elections were much lower than the figures presented by the CEC. In other words, voter turnout in Azerbaijan was unjustifiably exaggerated by the CEC. According to the indicators of CEC, EMDE, and IDI, the turnout in the elections held in Azerbaijan was much lower than in the Turkish elections.
Fakt Yoxla concludes that Sabir Rustamkhanli's claim is a Manipulation of Facts.