Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan News Digest

October 10, 2013

Presidential Election Marks Significant Progress in Azerbaijan

The country of Azerbaijan made a significant stride toward its full democratization in holding open and fair presidential elections on October 9, 2013. The Azerbaijani people took to the polls, freely exercising their right to vote, and overwhelmingly cast their support for the reelection of President Ilham Aliyev. No election is perfect, and Azerbaijan acknowledges that its electoral processes can be improved. However, the 2013 elections are an historic moment for the Western-facing country committed to strengthening its democratic society.
Azerbaijani citizens turned out in high numbers, with more than 72 percent of the 5.15 million registered voters participating in the election.  The government of Azerbaijan sought out the input of international observers, inviting representatives from more than 100 countries and 50 organizations to partake in monitoring the election process.  
International election observers acknowledged Azerbaijan’s progress, with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the European Parliament (EP) praising the “free, fair and transparent electoral process.” PACE and the EP cited a “professional and peaceful” election day, free from voter intimidation and violence. The organizations also stated their appreciation for a more open electoral debate and sound technical preparations and investment on behalf of election authorities.
Similarly, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) observed a number of improvements in Azerbaijan’s electoral processes. “I was pleased by the good organization of the election and the number of candidates who took part, as well as the peaceful atmosphere on election day,” said Michel Voisin, the special Co-coordinator who led the OSCE short-term election observation mission. Doris Barnett, the head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) delegation, added: “I welcome the high turnout, and I was happy to see so many people who were eager to cast their vote.”
Leaders from around the world have reached out to President Aliyev, congratulating him on his victory. Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul offered his congratulations and wished the president success in his future work for Azerbaijan’s prosperity. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych also called President Aliyev to congratulate him and offer well wishes. US congressmen Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Steve Cohen (D-TN) penned a congratulatory letter to the president, emphasizing the strong partnership and strategic interests the United States and Azerbaijan share.
Democratization is a top priority of Azerbaijan’s, and the 2013 elections provide evidence of progress that has been made and highlight areas of improvement the country recognizes it needs to address. Azerbaijan looks forward to continued cooperation and collaboration with its allies in Europe and the United States as it works to build upon the successes of the elections and embraces our cultures’ shared values.