BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 12, 2018
BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
Azerbaijan's incumbent President Ilham Aliyev has been re-elected by a wide margin to serve a fourth term, garnering a share of the vote almost identical to the results of exit polls.
Early Thursday, the Central Election Commission announced that Aliyev received 86 percent of the votes, with 92 percent of precincts reporting. Of his seven other challengers, self-nominated candidate Oruc Zahid Maharram led with 3.11 percent of the vote and Hasanguliyev Gudrat Muzaffar of the Whole Azerbaijan Popular Front Party came in third place with 3.04 of the vote. Voter turnout was 75 percent.
The results closely matched the exit polling in this oil-rich country on the Caspian Sea. According to the exit poll conducted by renowned U.S. polling firm Arthur J. Finkelstein & Associates, which conducted over 14,000 face-to-face interviews nationwide, Aliyev was projected to have won with 85.57 percent of the vote.
Election observers largely praised the election process. The European Conservatives and Reformists Group, one of the largest groups in the European Parliament, called the voting process "adequate and in accordance with international standards and practice" in a statement Thursday.
Speaking at a press conference in Baku, British MEP David Campbell Bannerman said the elections were "conducted in a professional and fair manner and in a transparent environment."
He was particularly impressed by the security measures, from the use of IT and indelible ink to security cards. "Unlike in European elections, there were no postal or proxy votes, which can pose security problems," Campbell Bannerman said, adding, "security measures here are better than in the UK."
In a separate statement, the election observation mission of Spain's Fundació Llibertat i Democràcia called the elections "calm and peaceful". The delegation noted that the "relevant voters' turnout and the transparency of the voting and counting procedures demonstrate the progress in technical reforms, which have been conducive to increase the efficiency of the electoral process in Azerbaijan."
In total about 60,000 observers, including nearly 900 international delegates, monitored the election.