Azerbaijan election: Monitors criticise President Ilham Aliyev after winning referendum

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Crowds took to the streets of the capital Baku to celebrate Ilham Aliyev's fifth consecutive term

The fifth term of Ilham Aliyev as President of Azerbaijan has been confirmed by election officials, who reported his victory with more than 92% of the vote.

However, people from other countries say that there was no serious competition against him.

The main opposing parties did not participate in the election, and one leader from those parties said it was not a real democracy.

The vote on Wednesday was supposed to happen in 2025, but it was moved up because the government took over a area controlled by ethnic Armenian rebels.

Mr Aliyev competed with six other candidates, but none of them disagreed with his leadership.

Many people went to the streets in the capital Baku to celebrate the president being elected again.

State media said that election officials reported Mr. Aliyev got 92. 05% of the votes, with 93% of the ballots counted. About 76% of people voted.

The president usually gets more than 85% of the vote in elections, but some people say the elections are not fair.

Artur Gerasymov, who oversaw a mission for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said on Thursday that President Aliyev was not effectively questioned. “which led to a competition without real diversity”

President Aliyev said there will be a vote earlier than planned because more people like him after Azerbaijan’s army did well in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan quickly took control of the region in September, ending Armenian rule that had lasted for 30 years. This region is officially considered to be part of Azerbaijan.

Many of the 120,000 Armenian people left and went to Armenia. Some of the top leaders in the breakaway area were arrested and are being held in jail in Azerbaijan, accused of different crimes.

Mr Aliyev said the victory in Karabakh is a very important event in Azerbaijan’s history. He also said the election will start a new era because it is happening in all of Azerbaijan for the first time.

Ali Kerimali, the head of the Popular Front, a big opposition party in Azerbaijan, said that the country doesn’t have the right conditions for fair elections.

“Freedom to gather is limited, media are controlled by the government, and people who disagree with the government are being quieted,” he said.

Mr Aliyev became the leader in 2003 after his father, Heydar Aliyev, passed away. His family took control in 1993, just after Azerbaijan became free from the former Soviet Union.

Lately, Azerbaijani officials have been putting more pressure on media that is not controlled by the government, and have arrested a number of journalists who say things that are critical of them.

Azerbaijan is being criticized by Amnesty International for not allowing people to speak freely and for trying to silence those who criticize the president.

Several leaders from other countries have told Mr. Aliyev they are happy for him winning the election, including the President of Turkey, the President of China, and the President of Iran.

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