Azeri President, PM poll votes in presidential election

Faisal Zahid Malik

Baku

President Ilham Aliyev and his family members cast their votes in the presidential election on Wednesday. First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva was among the voters. Azerbaijani Prime Minister Artur Rasizade also cast his vote.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Central Election Commission Mazahir Panahov said they had made elaborate arrangements for the presidential election
Talking to media at Information Centre he said number of eligible voters in the country was 5,314,365 and voting was conducted at 5,641 polling stations.
The CEC Chief said all facilities were ensured at polling stations for local and international observers to monitor the voting process.
“Web cameras were installed in 20 per cent of the country’s polling stations, that is 1,000 polling stations, in connection with the presidential election. Any internet user can watch the voting process live on official website,” he said.
He said polling also took place at Azerbaijan‘s embassies in several countries.
There were eight candidates named Gudrat Hasanguliyev from the Whole Azerbaijani Popu-lar Front Party, Araz Alizade from the Social Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, Faraj Guliyev from the National Revival Movement Party, Razi Nurullayev from the Frontists Initiative Group, Hafiz Hajiyev from the Modern Musavat Party, self-nominee Zahid Oruj, Sardar Mammadov from the Azerbaijan Democratic Party and incumbent President Ilham from the New Azerbaijan Party.
The CEC has accredited 890 international and 58,175 domestic observers to monitor the presidential election. The international observers came from 59 countries and 60 organisations including the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, PACE, and CIS
Opportunities were provided for visually and physically disabled vot-ers.
Mobile ramps were used for the voters with mobility impairment to come to the polling stations and vote. Polling for the presidential election started at 8 a.m. in the morning and closed at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, the election was boycotted by the main opposition parties but the authorities rejected the opposition’s criticism, insisting the vote was free and fair.
The President Ilham Aliyev has been in power for 15 years whose position got boosted by the steady influx of petrodollars into his government’s coffers
“Azerbaijan is on a firm and irreversible path of democratic development. A free, open and transparent environment was created in Azerbaijan for the presidential elections,” foreign ministry spokesman, Hikmet Hajiyev, told media. “All the candidates enjoyed equal rights and opportunities,” he added.
Poised to secure a fourth consecutive term, Aliyev, 56, was first elected in 2003, after the death of his father Heydar Aliyev.
He was reelected in 2008 and 2013. Under the country’s constitution he could run for an unlimited number of presidential terms. In 2016, Azerbaijan adopted constitutional amendments, extending the president’s term in office to seven years from five.

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