BAKU (Reuters) - Ilham Aliyev won a fourth term as president of the oil-producing ex-Soviet republic of Azerbaijan on Wednesday in an election that his opponents boycotted because of a crackdown on dissent and the rigging of the vote they expected to see.
“Voters have made the right choice and this choice is Ilham Aliyev,” said Ali Akhmedov, a senior official of Aliyev’s ruling New Azerbaijan Party, after exit polls gave him more than 80 percent of the vote.
“According to exit polls results, 80 to 85 percent of voters have voted for Aliyev, which means that Ilham Aliyev has won the election.”
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 symbolise the massive oil revenues enjoyed by the Azeri elite.
Reporting by Nailia Bagirova; writing by Margarita Antidze; editing by Larry King