President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan voted for his re-election during Wednesday’s snap polls in Stepanakert, the capital of what Azerbaijan refers to as occupied Artsakh.
Following the September attack in Artsakh, which resulted in the displacement of over 100,000 Armenians who sought refuge in Armenia, Aliyev announced the snap election.
Aliyev hailed Wednesday’s vote as historic, marking the first elections conducted in what Azerbaijan considers the “entire territory” of the country. The Central Electoral Commission of Azerbaijan reported the establishment of 26 polling stations in occupied Artsakh.
As the polls concluded at 7 p.m. local time, Aliyev was anticipated to secure victory with over 93 percent of the votes, extending his tenure as the leader of Azerbaijan. Aliyev and his father, Heydar, have collectively ruled the country for three decades.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey wasted no time in congratulating Aliyev, expressing confidence in his “decisive” victory. Erdogan also voiced optimism about the prospects of a peace treaty with Armenia following the elections.
Media in Turkey echoed Erdogan’s sentiments, characterizing Wednesday’s Azerbaijani elections as a triumph. Reports indicated that over 23,000 individuals cast their ballots in the occupied city of Shushi.
The OSCE was the sole international organization invited to monitor the elections. However, Swiss lawmaker Nik Gugger, a member of the monitoring team, was arrested on Monday and subsequently expelled from Azerbaijan due to his prior criticism of the Baku regime.