Monday, 23 July, 2018

Putin congratulates Aliyev on re-election as Azerbaijan's president

Polls open in presidential election in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan President congratulates his countrymen
Gerardo Duncan | 13 April, 2018, 06:56

Aliyev, who has been in power for 15 years, addressed the nation on Wednesday evening, thanking Azerbaijanis for "support and trust". The current head of state scored 86% of the vote.

The final turnout at the presidential election in Azerbaijan is 74.51%.

President Ilham Aliyev expressed gratitude for the attention and congratulations.

But the OSCE said Thursday that its observers at the polls reported "widespread disregard for mandatory procedures, lack of transparency, and numerous serious irregularities". Against this backdrop and in the absence of pluralism, including in the media, the election lacked genuine competition.

The opposition "National Council of Democratic Forces", Musavat Party and Azerbaijani Popular Front Party boycotted the elections.

"Azerbaijan is on a firm and irreversible path of democratic development".

A former KGB officer and communist-era leader, Aliyev senior had ruled Azerbaijan with an iron fist since 1993.

"All the candidates enjoy equal rights and opportunities", he added.

Supporters of Ilham Aliyev celebrate his victory in the presidential elections in Baku
Supporters of Ilham Aliyev celebrate his victory in the presidential elections in Baku

Ilham Aliyev noted that all conditions were created for holding the election in accordance with worldwide standards and free observation.

Mr Aliyev has led the country since 2003, when he succeeded his father.

The ruling New Azerbaijan Party claimed Aliyev's victory two of hours after polls closed.

Aliyev brought forward the date of the vote to April 11 from October 17, a move his allies said was necessary to avoid presidential and parliamentary elections clashing in 2025.

Aliyev has cemented his position with two referendums, one in 2009 that scrapped a two-term presidential limit and another in 2016 that extended the presidential term to seven years from five.

Seven candidates ran, but critics questioned whether they were actual opponents.

Highly restrictive laws related to the media challenge the freedoms of expression and the press, and extend also to website and social media content. Defamation is a criminal offense, punishable by imprisonment and with additional penalties for defamation of the president, further limiting the freedom of expression key to political campaigning, the observers said.

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