The presidential election in Azerbaijan, October 2008

On 15 October 2008, Azerbaijan held its third presidential election after the declaration of independence (1991). The election resulted in President Ilham Aliyev, son of former President Heydar Aliyev, being elected for a second term. Thus, post-independence, Azerbaijan was dominated by the rule of the Aliyev family.1 Ilham Aliyev had inherited his father's administrative staff and clientelist networks, supported by strong regionalism, and used his first term to consolidate his power. Moreover, oil revenues resulted in very high levels of economic growth, despite the monopolization of wealth amongst the political and economic elite. Since independence, the Azerbaijani opposition parties constituted the main challenge to the Aliyev governments. The Musavat Party, Azerbaijan People's Front Party (APFP), Azerbaijan National Independence Party (ANIP), and the Azerbaijan Democrat Party (ADP)2 all criticized the regime for its anti-democratic practices: the lack of free and fair elections, the dominance of patron–client relationships; regionalism; unemployment and low standards of living; and the unresolved conflict in the Karabagh region. Yet the Azerbaijani opposition parties weakened after each election since 1993 due to electoral fraud. The government's pressure on opposition parties, the opposition's inability to unify, the passivity of the electorate, and anti-democratic practices during the pre- and post-election periods were major factors behind declining political activism.

Citation Formats
A. Ergun Özbolat, “The presidential election in Azerbaijan, October 2008,” ELECTORAL STUDIES, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 647–651, 2009, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: