No surprises as Azerbaijan's Aliyev wins fourth presidential term with landslide

No surprises as Azerbaijan's Aliyev wins fourth presidential term with landslide

President Ilham Aliyev expressed gratitude for the attention and congratulations.

The incumbent Azerbaijani leader, Ilham Aliyef, is leading the presidential elections with 86 percent of popular support, the top executive of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), Mazahir Panahov, indicated Wednesday.

"Your victory in the April 11 presidential election is proof of the high support of the Azerbaijani people for your policy aimed at further increasing the welfare of citizens and strengthening the country's worldwide reputation", Nazarbayev said in his congratulatory letter.

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The polls also "lacked genuine competition", the worldwide election and war monitor said, with opposition candidates refraining from challenging or criticising the incumbent.

At the news conference, Aliyev's supporters shouted: "Your report was prepared in advance to please Armenians", referring to a long-standing conflict with neighbouring Armenia over Azerbaijan's breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.

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

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Over time, Azerbaijanis have accepted the fact that Aliyev is the only alternative, and even find excuses for him, blaming the widespread corruption in the country on those around him rather than on the president himself.

Aliyev, 56, was first elected in 2003, after the death of his father Heydar Aliyev.

Azerbaijan adopted fresh controversial constitutional amendments in 2016, extending the president's term in office from five to seven years. Officials said it was moved to April because the country would be busy with various high-profile events at the end of 2018.

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

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