President Ilham Aliyev has secured re-election with an overwhelming 92.12 percent of the vote, as announced by the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Azerbaijan in presidential elections. The people of Azerbaijan actively participated in the democratic process on February 7, 2024, underscoring the significance of their engagement by turning out in substantial numbers, exercising their voting rights, and thoughtfully selecting their representatives, thus reinforcing the governance of the nation. Voter turnout stood at approximately 76.43 percent, with over six million people casting their ballots across 6,537 voting places.
The elections were conducted in an open and transparent manner, with international organizations, election observation missions, mass media representatives, and interested election stakeholders granted free access to observe the process.
On Election Day, I served as an international observer, tasked with overseeing the preparations and conduct of the presidential elections in the Republic of Azerbaijan in adherence to legal and democratic principles. I commend the transparent, independent, and peaceful conduct of the elections.
International observers were governed by the legal regulation within the framework established by the Central Election Commission’s regulations, adhering to election ethics and legal guidelines governing their status, accreditation, rights, obligations, and operational framework. The Election Code explicitly permitted observers from foreign countries and international organizations to participate in all election-related activities, including polling and vote counting.
The observers who monitored the electoral process were from international and intergovernmental organizations, including the OSCE Office for Human Rights, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, the SCO, and many others. Observers, including electoral law specialists, lawyers, human rights advocates, intellectuals, and researchers, were invited by Azerbaijan to monitor the presidential election in their professional capacity.
The elections were conducted in strict compliance with the country’s electoral legislation, international norms and standards, and democratic principles of transparency and fairness. A model for the legal status of international observers emerged in Azerbaijan, ensuring their rights and obligations through a legally binding act, thereby guaranteeing consistent conditions for their activity. The electoral process in Azerbaijan was marked by transparency, with no interference in the commission’s work and ample opportunities provided for international observers.
The voting process adhered to regulations, with particular attention drawn to the enthusiasm of young voters. The professionalism of election staff was evident, reflecting thorough training. Observers faced no obstacles or restrictions during the vote counting process, ensuring compliance with legislative requirements.
Through the Lens of an International Observer: Analyzing Election
I embarked on a journey to various polling places. It became evident to me that the Central Election Commission had worked extremely hard to prepare for this big political event in such a short period of time. Remarkably, young people, in particular, actively engaged at polling stations, exercising their right to choose their prospective candidates. The individuals present at the polling stations displayed remarkable knowledge, and the election process unfolded smoothly.
The transparency of the voting process, coupled with the warmth and solemnity of all procedures, was commendable. The Central Election Commission executed its duties with a high level of professionalism and in strict compliance with international standards. Voters exercised their right to cast their ballots freely, contributing to a process that was open, transparent, and fully aligned with international legal norms and democratic principles. I extend my appreciation to the Central Election Commission for its meticulous preparations and arrangements, ensuring the integrity of the electoral process in accordance with electoral legislation. The elections were meticulously organized, with voters approaching the polls with enthusiasm and good spirits.
Azerbaijan, through its electoral processes, ensured and safeguarded its citizens’ and voters’ constitutional electoral rights and freedoms while also remaining open to international observation, not only in national elections but also in referendums. In doing so, the country effectively implemented internationally recognized principles and standards of democratic elections, guaranteeing and protecting the electoral rights and freedoms of its citizens.
The remarkable enthusiasm displayed by young voters underscores the vibrant democratic spirit of Azerbaijan. Furthermore, the professionalism demonstrated by all election staff, in conjunction with the preparations and arrangements made by the authorities, reflects a steadfast dedication to upholding electoral integrity and ensuring a fair electoral process.
The results of the elections demonstrated the unity of the Azerbaijani people around their leadership, signaling a confident stride towards a brighter future. This victory is poised to bolster the national unity of Azerbaijan and elevate the country’s role on the international stage.
It is worth noting that the elections confirmed the high level of confidence in the country’s leadership, which is dedicated to the welfare of the people, economic development, and the strengthening of democratic institutions. Azerbaijan has turned a new page in its history, taking another significant step towards prosperity. Azerbaijan has achieved remarkable successes, leading to the rapid development of an independent, sovereign, progressive and modern nation.
Mr. Khalid Taimur Akram is an Executive Director, Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future (PRCCSF).