Putin hails Aliyev's victory in Azerbaijan's presidential election

Putin hails Aliyev's victory in Azerbaijan's presidential election

A former KGB officer and communist-era leader, Aliyev senior had ruled Azerbaijan with an iron fist since 1993.

The partial results were based on the 65 percent of the ballots counted, he said, Reuters reported.

Putin congratulated Ilham Aliyev on his convincing victory in the presidential election and wished him success in his presidency aimed at ensuring the welfare of the Azerbaijani people and the country's development, APA reports.

Stressing that Azerbaijan is an active member of the CIS, the head of state said that Azerbaijan will continue to make efforts to further expand cooperation related to strengthening of stability and security within the framework of the organization.

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The Central Election Commission put the turnout at 74.5 percent.

Aliyev, 56, and his supporters deny allegations of voter fraud and say dissent has not been suppressed.

Aliyev, who has been in power for 15 years, addressed the nation on Wednesday evening, thanking Azerbaijanis for "support and trust".

Since Aliyev won the last election in 2013, Azerbaijan's constitution has been amended to extend the presidential term from five to seven years.

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The early presidential election in Azerbaijan took place within a restrictive political environment and under laws that curtail fundamental rights and freedoms, which are prerequisites for genuine democratic elections, the OSCE PA International Secretariat said in a statement.

Aliyev has tried to strike a balance between Azerbaijan's former Soviet master Russian Federation and the West, notably on energy policy.

Aliyev's been lapping up a boom fueled by oil exports, but a slump in global crude prices has weakened the Azeri currency and hit the economy.

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