Azerbaijan: after his victory in Nagorno-Karabakh, President Ilham Aliev orders an early presidential election

Building on his recent military victory in Nagorno-Karabakh, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliev, decided on Thursday, December 7, to bring forward the next presidential election to February 7, 2024, according to a decree published by the presidency of this authoritarian country

Azerbaijan: after his victory in Nagorno-Karabakh, President Ilham Aliev orders an early presidential election

Building on his recent military victory in Nagorno-Karabakh, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliev, decided on Thursday, December 7, to bring forward the next presidential election to February 7, 2024, according to a decree published by the presidency of this authoritarian country. Caucasus. The election was scheduled for 2025.

The president seems to want to take advantage of his popularity, at its highest since the lightning offensive against the Armenian separatists, which allowed him to reconquer the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in September. Some 75 percent of Azerbaijanis approve of his handling of the conflict, according to an opinion poll by the country's Social Research Center, a state institution. Almost the entire Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh – more than 100,000 people out of the 120,000 recorded – has since fled to Armenia.

Ilham Aliev, 61, who succeeded his father Heydar Aliev, rules this former Soviet republic rich in hydrocarbons with an iron fist and suppresses all opposition. Critics may denounce the authoritarian excesses of the regime, but its influence remains intact.

The president had a constitutional change approved by referendum in 2009 authorizing him to serve an unlimited number of terms. A new constitutional change in 2016 extended the presidential term to seven years. The same year, he appointed his wife Mehriban Alieva as first vice-president.