According to Press TV, the former Soviet republic’s huge energy reserves and strategic location on the Caspian Sea make it an important alternative for Europe to Russian oil and gas.
“Ilham Aliyev is leading … He got 86.09 percent of votes,” Mazahir Panahov, the Central Election Commission Chairman told a news conference. The partial results were based on the 65 percent of the ballots counted, he said.
“I am grateful to my people for voting for our achievements and success,” Aliyev said on state television, soon after the election commission announced the first results. “People voted for stability, security and development.”
The ruling New Azerbaijan Party claimed Aliyev’s victory two of hours after polls closed.
“Voters have made the right choice, and this choice is Ilham Aliyev,” said Ali Akhmedov, the party’s senior official.
“According to exit polls results, 80 to 85 percent of voters have voted for Aliyev, which means that Ilham Aliyev has won the election,” he said.
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 election commission said turnout was about 75 percent and there were no complaints about irregularities.