Polls open in presidential election in Azerbaijan

Polls open in presidential election in Azerbaijan

The national elections commission said that with 65 percent of the ballots counted, President Ilham Aliyev had received 86 percent of the vote in an early presidential election. "People voted for stability, security and development". On behalf of the Turkish people and on my own behalf, I convey to you the most honest congratulations in connection with your re-election as the Azerbaijani president in the election held on April 11.

"Voters have made the right choice, and this choice is Ilham Aliyev", said Ali Akhmedov, the party's senior official.

According to an exit poll conducted by ELS Research Center, the current president is leading the race with 82.71% of the votes. Azerbaijan's main opposition parties did not participate in the polls and had called for a boycott, claiming that the vote would be rigged.

Dozens of cars honking and carrying the flags of Azerbaijan and Aliyev's ruling party cruised down Oilman Avenue, a central Baku thoroughfare whose high-priced boutiques have come to symbolize the massive oil revenues enjoyed by the Azeri elite. The voter turnout reached almost 75%.

Aliyev said Azerbaijan is interested in strengthening ties with the SCO and participating in a number of projects implemented by the organization.

Azerbaijan adopted fresh controversial constitutional amendments in 2016, extending the president's term in office from five to seven years.

They have also condemned Aliyev's surprise - and unexplained - decision to hold the election six months ahead of schedule, saying it was aimed at shortening the campaign period and hampering efforts to prevent vote-rigging.

The OSCE monitors will present their observations at a news conference on Thursday.