Azerbaijan ruling party wins polls, opposition cries fraud

By: AFP
Published: 01:11 PM, 10 Feb, 2020
Azerbaijan ruling party wins polls, opposition cries fraud
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Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev's ruling party celebrated Monday a win in parliamentary polls but the opposition claimed the election were not transparent.

Aliyev, 58, hoped to boost the government's image by holding early elections and replacing discredited old elites with younger technocrats.

Counting showed the Yeni (New) Azerbaijan party with 65 seats in the 125-member parliament, after 87 percent of electoral precincts declared results in the first-past-the-post ballot, said central election commission chief Mazahir Panahov.

More than 5.3 million people were eligible to vote, and turnout stood at 47.8 percent, election officials said.

The sole opposition politician who made it to the new legislature was Erkin Gadirly of Republican Alternative Party (ReAl) party while all the other parties represented in the parliament, the Milli Majlis, are seen as pro-Aliyev.

On Sunday night, Vice Prime Minister and Yeni Azerbaijan executive secretary Ali Ahmedov congratulated his party on "yet another great victory" after exit polls put it on a course to win a majority of seats.

"We are grateful to those who have voted in support of our president's policies," Ahmedov told journalists.

The ruling party -- which faced little challenge from the embattled opposition -- had promised a democratic election, but opposition parties accused the government of limiting their ability to campaign and several parties boycotted the vote.

Elections had originally been scheduled for November this year but in December Aliyev called early polls after a surprise dissolution of the legislature that is dominated by his ruling party.

The move followed the replacement of the prime minister and a number of veteran officials within the presidential administration and the government.

Highly dependent on oil exports, the country has since 2015 been hit by a drop in energy prices and the global economic downturn, and has sharply devalued its currency, the manat.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.