Azerbaijan heading to polls for presidential election

More than 6.5 million Azerbaijani voters on Feb. 7 are set to head to the ballot boxes to elect their next president a year ahead of the previously scheduled elections.

President İlham Aliyev, nominated by the New Azerbaijan Party, will compete against six other candidates.

In the Caucasian country, presidential elections take place every seven years, but Aliyev, in December 2023, signed an executive order advancing the polls by a year, scheduling them for February.

Both political analysts and public expectations showed that Aliyev will most probably secure his fifth term with a significant margin, as he has done in previous years.

The latest presidential election was held in Azerbaijan in April 2018, with Aliyev winning in a landslide victory with 86.22 percent of the votes. Voter turnout was 74.5 percent.

With over 6,300 polling stations established in the country, 49 polling stations will be set up in 37 countries for Azerbaijani citizens living abroad to participate in the elections, according to the Azerbaijani Central Election Commission.

The Azerbaijani election is expected to be closely monitored by more than 60 international media organizations, including those from Türkiye, Russia, Germany, Italy, Japan and other countries. Ballot boxes will also be placed in the regions liberated from Armenian occupation, marking the first presidential election across all of Azerbaijan's territories in 30 years.

Aliyev was celebrated as a national hero after his troops recaptured the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region in September's one-day offensive, ending one of the most bitter standoffs of the post-Soviet era and reclaiming territory that had sparked wars in 2020 and in the 1990s and claimed tens of thousands of...

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