A man who declined to campaign in the weeks before Azerbaijan’s presidential election on October 9 is already gearing up for his inauguration ceremony.
That man, of course, is Ilham Aliyev, who, already after two terms and 10 years in power, is the longest-serving ruler in the South Caucasus. While there are 10 candidates contesting the October 9 election, most voters know in advance that Aliyev is going to win – and it will not even be close.
Critics scoff that the lack of a genuine choice illustrates the country’s lack of democratization progress. “Overall, the campaign took place under a predetermined result; i.e. the inevitability of Aliyev’s victory,” said political strategist and blogger Bakhtiyar Hajiyev.
Such jabs, however, do not appear to trouble top government officials: even before the polls open, preparations are well underway for Aliyev’s third presidential inauguration.
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance correspondent based in Baku.