by Kateryna Mishchenko
According to the vote count in Azerbaijan in the extraordinary presidential elections held on February 7, the victory was won by the current head of State, Ilham Aliyev, as reported by the Azerbaijani service of Radio Liberty. At the meeting of the Central Election Commission (CEC), the results of the vote count in the elections were announced, according to which Aliyev received 92.12% – his candidacy was supported by a total of 4,567,458 voters.
The other six “rivals” of the incumbent President in the elections received significantly fewer votes. Thus, the candidate in the elections, Zahid Orudzh, according to the CEC data, has 2.17%, following Fazil Mustafa (1.99%), Gudrat Gasanguliev (1.72%), Razi Nurullaev (0.80%), Elshad Musayev (0.66%) and Fuad Aliyev (0.54%).
The opposition party People’s Front of Azerbaijan (NFA) stated that it does not recognize the results of the extraordinary presidential elections. “There were no real elections because the elections were held without competition, freedoms were completely restricted, in an atmosphere of fear, threats, and administrative terror, and the announced results do not reflect the will of the people and are illegitimate,” said in a statement by the NFA. The Azerbaijani CEC also states that the turnout in these extraordinary presidential elections was 76.43%.
During the session of the Central Election Commission (CEC), it was emphasized that “the well-organized elections, which were conducted for the first time in conditions of full restoration of sovereignty and territorial integrity of our Country, in all regions of the republic, including liberated from occupation regions, were conducted freely, fairly, and transparently.” The CEC added that: “This has become a historical event in the socio-political life of the country, which holds exceptional significance.”
Election tracking was attended by, among others, 790 international observers representing 72 international organizations and 89 Countries. As a consequence of denying access to observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) during the elections, political sanctions were levied against Azerbaijan. However, the Azerbaijani delegation decided to withdraw from the PACE itself, without waiting for a decision.
By the way, last year in Azerbaijan, an electronic exit poll was conducted for the first time. According to the results, the current president of the Country, Ilham Aliyev, won the election for the fourth time in a row with a result of 86.53% of the votes. Extraordinary presidential elections in Azerbaijan were well organized but took place under restrictions on fundamental freedoms of assembly, expression, and media.
This is stated in the preliminary conclusions of the EU on the presidential elections. “Extraordinary presidential elections were held in the Republic of Azerbaijan on February 7. These are the first elections held throughout the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. President Ilham Aliyev was re-elected for his fifth term in office,” – said in a statement by the EU spokesperson.
As noted, the European Union took into account the preliminary observations and conclusions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) Election Observation Mission, according to which the elections took place under restrictions and laws aimed at curbing fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to freedom of assembly, expression, and media. “Although the preparation for the elections was properly organized, this electoral process was marked by the suppression of critical voices and the lack of political alternatives. Election day was calm and orderly, although observers reported widespread violations of mandatory procedures, a lack of transparency, and numerous serious violations,” – the EU spokesperson noted.
Ilham Aliyev first became President of Azerbaijan in 2003, replacing his father Heydar Aliyev in office. Presidential elections in Azerbaijan were not scheduled to take place before 2025, but Aliyev announced the holding of early voting – after the return of Baku’s control over Nagorno-Karabakh. Prior to this, the last presidential elections in Azerbaijan were held on April 11, 2018. They were also extraordinary. The president in the Country is elected for a term of seven years, and the number of terms is not limited. Thus, Aliyev will become president for the fifth time.
On the cove photo, Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev ©Drop of Light/Shutterstock.com