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Azerbaijan presidential election begins

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Azerbaijan presidential election begins

President Ilham Aliyev votes in parliamentary elections. PHOTO: president.az

Early presidential elections are set to begin in Azerbaijan today, two years ahead of schedule.

The motivation behind these hasty, non-competitive elections, which curtail opposition candidates’ attempts to build a substantial pre-election campaign, has sparked considerable debate. Typically, such measures are taken in anticipation of a political crisis, which does not seem imminent in Azerbaijan in the near future. As claimed by President Aliyev himself, he intends to conduct elections across the entire territory of the country for the first time after the restoration of territorial integrity, referring to the annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh following the victorious war. This victory has significantly boosted Aliyev’s legitimacy among the Azerbaijani people. Most likely, Aliyev plans to capitalize on the wave of enthusiasm among the population, resulting from the resolution of the long-standing conflict with Armenians, to secure another term as president and prolong the regime’s existence.

Aliyev has governed Azerbaijan in an authoritarian manner since 2003, succeeding his father. Judging by the public image the current president is cultivating as a living legend, the creator of the history and founder of the Azerbaijan state, it appears likely that the Aliyev family’s rule will continue for many years.

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