The presidential election in Azerbaijan “did not reflect all the principles of a meaningful and pluralistic democratic election”. That is the verdict of the European monitors after the incumbent Ilham Aliyev won a second term with 89 per cent of the vote.
The mainstream opposition boycotted the ballot in the former Soviet state, alleging that curbs on democracy and media freedom made participation pointless.
Victory for Aliyev, son of the late long-serving leader Heydar Aliyev, was never in doubt, extending the Aliyev family’s grip on the oil-producing country, where the West and Russia are vying for influence.
Opposition politicians have accused the West of toning down criticism of Azeri democracy for fear of losing a key strategic ally and access to oil reserves in the Caspian Sea.