Shazia Anwer Cheema
Baku, Azerbaijan: The Azerbaijan today on February 7, 2024, will elect its next President for a term of seven years.
The sitting President Ilham Aliev is contesting the Snap Presidential polls as he has already completed his 20 years in the Presidential Office. However, this time he has already become an unbeatable candidate being a national hero of the 44-day Patriotic War who defeated the 30-year-long illegal occupation of Armenia over 30% land of Azerbaijan.
President Ilham Aliev first contested the Presidential election after the death of his father former President Heydar Aliyev in 2003 and defeated his opponent with a huge margin.
In the 2003 Presidential run, Ilham Aliyev as the candidate of the New Azerbaijan Party bagged 75.38% (1,860,346 ) of total polled votes while his opponent Isa Gambar of Musavat Party got just 15.09% (372,385) of polled votes. The turnout of lolling votes was (62.85) of the total registered votes.
In 2008 President Ilham Aliyev got 88.73% of the total polled votes (3,232,259) while his opponent Igbal Aghazade of the Party of Hope managed only %2.86 (104,279) of the total polled votes. The turnout was 75.10% of the total registered vote
In 2013, President Ilham Aliyev bagged 84.54% votes (3,126,113) of the total polled votes while his competitor Jamil Hasanli of the National Council of Democratic Forces got only 5.53% (204,642) of total polled votes. The turnout was 71.62 of the total registered votes.
In 2018, President Ilham Aliyev got 86.02% (3,394,898) of total polled votes while his opponent Zahid Oruj who was an Independent got just 3.12% (122,956) of polled votes. The turnout was 74.24% of the total registered votes.
It is pertinent to mention that Azerbaijan has a presidential system, where the president serves a seven-year term. To secure the presidency, a candidate must gather more than half of the polled votes. Suppose no candidate achieves 50% of the total polled votes, then the country goes for runoff elections where the top two contenders proceed to a second round, with the candidate receiving the most votes in that round ultimately securing the presidency.
This Snap Presidential Election is very historic for Azerbaijan because elections are being held under the excitement created by the Karabakh Victory and polling will be held in liberated regions for also first time after 30 years of lull—the era that was of illegal occupation by Armenia.
The victory in Karabakh is the result of the strong leadership of President Ilham Aliyev and regional leaders believe that he has made major updates to the country’s foreign and domestic policies that have ensured peace in the Caucasian region and his effective solution to the main issue of the country’s national security can be interpreted as an increase in confidence in the continuation of domestic political reforms in the future.
The regional experts believe that there is no doubt that President Ilham Aliyev is achieving the dreams of his late father Heydar Aliyev and today what makes Azerbaijan a prosperous and confident nation is the outcome of the vision of Heydar Aliyev’s philosophy of Azerbaijanism, also known as Aliyevism. The liberation of Armenian-occupied territories of Azerbaijan was one of the greatest dreams of late President Heydar Aliyev which has been fulfilled by the brave leadership of his son President Ilham Aliyev.
Heydar Aliyev’s philosophy of Azerbaijanism was embodied by allegiance to national unity, economic development, and a strong, independent Azerbaijan. His legacy continues to shape Azerbaijani politics and society today.