BAKU - Ilham Aliyev, Azeri President Heydar Aliyev’s son and the country’s Prime Minister, leads in Azerbaijan’s presidential election, which was held on Wednesday. According to the latest information from the Central Election Commission of Azerbaijan, more than 70 percent of votes have already been counted, Rossiya (Russia) television reports. Ilham Iliyev gathered 80 percent of the vote, while opposition leader Isa Gambar has 11 percent.
Under Azeri law, an election is valid if the turnout was at least 25 percent. To win a presidential election, a candidate must gather 50 percent plus one vote.
Eight candidates took part in the presidential race: Prime Minister Ilham Aliyev; Isa Gambar, the leader of the opposition Musavat (Equality) party; Gudrat Gasanguliyev from the People’s Front of Azerbaijan; Ilyas Ismailov, Chairman of the Adalat (Justice) party; Lala Shovket, the former head of the Liberal Party of Azerbaijan; Sabir Rustamkhanly, the leader of the Civil Solidarity party; and Khafiz Gadzhiyev, the leader of the Muasir Musavat party.
250 armed soldiers were sent to the headquarters of the Musavat party. According to the Trend news agency, the Musavat party said the troops were under the command of Tair Khalygov, Assistant Commander in Chief of Azerbaijan’s armed forces.
On Wednesday night, clashes broke out between opposition activists and the police near the Musavat party’s headquarters in central Baku. About 20 to 30 people were injured, and the police arrested several dozen opposition activists. The police used clubs against protesters. Those injured in the clashes were taken to nearby hospitals. Several cars parked outside the Musavat party’s headquarters, were seriously damaged, including the car of Isa Gambar, NTV television reports.