Aliyev seals another term, exit polls show

Aliyev seals another term, exit polls show

BAKU - Agence France-Presse
Aliyev seals another term, exit polls show

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev casts his vote in the presidential election.

Strongman president Ilham Aliyev sealed a third term on Oct. 9 according to exit polls. The polls showed Aliyev taking 84 percent of the votes, despite critics claiming a widespread crackdown on his foes ahead of the poll.

Despite refusing to campaign publicly, Aliyev appeared a shoo-in as the authorities exert an iron grip over most media in the tightly-controlled ex-Soviet state.

The 51-year-old leader came to power in a 2003 vote after the death of his father Heydar, a former KGB officer and Communist-era boss who ruled the oil-rich Caspian Sea nation for the 10 years before.

Aliyev was re-elected in 2008 with 89 percent of the vote in a poll Western observers refused to call free and fair. Opinion polls ahead of the vote put him on over 80 percent as he bids to extend his family’s decades-long hold on power against nine other candidates.

Aliyev has skipped televised debates and rejected public rallies. Some 5 million people are eligible to vote.