/ 28 February 2024

A new era for Azerbaijan: Reflecting on the presidential elections and looking ahead

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President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev as a sign of respect drops to one knee and kisses the National Flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

This was the first election conducted across the entire territory of Azerbaijan, including the liberated Karabakh region

In a historic turn of events that marked the beginning of a new chapter in Azerbaijan’s history, the early presidential elections were held on 7 February 2024. This followed a decree issued by  President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on 7 December 2023, which set the stage for a democratic process that would herald the beginning of a new era for the nation. 

The elections were characterised by transparency, inclusivity and democratic values, and Aliyev was re-elected with an overwhelming majority, securing 92% of the votes. This remarkable political victory was not merely a testament to the trust and support of the Azerbaijani people but also a resounding affirmation and a clear mandate for the continuation of policies aimed at the nation’s development and the protection of its territorial integrity.

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President Ilham Aliyev casts his vote in Khankendi, Azerbaijan, in the election held in February.

Seven candidates participated in the elections; Aliyev led with 4 281 625 votes. The electoral process, meticulously prepared and conducted by the Central Election Commission (CEC), was a demonstration of Azerbaijan’s commitment to democratic principles and its adherence to both national laws and international obligations. Notably, this was the first election conducted across the entire territory of Azerbaijan, including the liberated Karabakh region, highlighting the restoration of sovereignty and the unity of the nation.

After the corresponding decision by the Constitutional Court of Azerbaijan, the inauguration ceremony was held on 14 February 2024. The swearing-in ceremony was a profound declaration of Azerbaijan’s journey towards sovereignty, development and peace. 

In his poignant speech at the inauguration ceremony, Aliyev expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the people of Azerbaijan, acknowledging their unwavering support over the years. “First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the people of Azerbaijan for once again placing great confidence and supporting me in the presidential election,” he affirmed, pledging to continue his dedicated service towards the comprehensive development of Azerbaijan and the unwavering protection of its territorial integrity. 

President Ilham Aliyev’s leadership has been characterised by a steadfast resolve to overcome challenges and achieve significant milestones, notably the restoration of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity — a promise he has made and fulfilled.

Looking ahead, Aliyev outlined the vision for a new era marked by further achievements and prosperity. He emphasised the significance of the recent elections, being the first conducted across the entire territory of Azerbaijan, including the liberated areas. “This is a historic event, and this historic event has a special place in our centuries-old history,” he stated, highlighting the symbolic importance of casting his vote in Khankendi and the broader implications for national unity and reconciliation.

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President Ilham Aliyev at the swearing-in ceremony at the National Assembly in Baku, the Capital City of Azerbaijan.

As Azerbaijan embarks on this new chapter, Aliyev’s speech underscored the themes of unity, resilience and forward-looking governance. He laid out a comprehensive agenda focusing on the restoration of Karabakh and East Zangezur, fostering a strong and inclusive national identity, and engaging proactively on the international stage to address global challenges such as climate change, neo-colonialism and Islamophobia.

The liberation of Azerbaijani lands, as recounted by Aliyev, was not just a military success but a historic restoration of justice and sovereignty. “Our territorial integrity had to be fully restored … we liberated a large part of our lands as a result of the Patriotic War,” he recounted, stressing the unity and determination of the Azerbaijani people in achieving this monumental goal. The president’s strategic and principled stance on the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, culminating in the decisive anti-terror operation, underscored his commitment to Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and the end of separatism within its territories.

The re-election of Aliyev and his inauguration mark not just the continuation of leadership but the beginning of a promising new era for Azerbaijan. With a clear mandate from the people, his vision for a united, prosperous, and globally engaged Azerbaijan sets the tone for the future. The dedication to fulfilling the aspirations of the Azerbaijani people, as echoed in his speech, serves as a guiding light for the nation as it strides confidently towards greater achievements and stability. The path ahead, illuminated by the principles of Azerbaijanism and the legacy of unity and victory, promises to usher in an era of unprecedented growth and harmony for Azerbaijan.