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SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor
BAKU, Azerbaijan, October 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Azerbaijan holds its presidential election today, with incumbent President Ilham Aliyev benefiting from a high approval rating, and the opposition parties presenting a fractious slate of nine different candidates.
A national pre-election survey by respected U.S. polling firm Arthur J. Finkelstein and Associates of 1,000 likely voters showed Aliyev with an 86 percent approval rating, a number that rose to 90.5 percent among those who self-described as "always voting."
Aliyev, seeking his third term, benefits from his strong leadership, including the handling of the ongoing Armenian occupation of twenty percent of Azerbaijan, according the poll.
Armenia has occupied the Nagorno-Karabakh region and surrounding provinces of Azerbaijan for two decades, in violation of international law and numerous resolutions by the United Nations, the European Union, and other international organizations. Over one million Azerbaijanis are internally displaced from their homes as a result. The issue remains an emotional one in Azerbaijan, unifying voters across the political spectrum.
Eighty-two percent of respondents in the Arthur J. Finkelstein and Associates survey support Aliyev's handling of the Armenian aggression issue, and 87 percent approve of his administration's work of safeguarding the country against terrorism, an ever-present threat with Iran located to the immediate south and Russia to the north.
Aliyev has also earned plaudits for his economic management, with over half of respondents stating that the country is headed in the right direction economically. Azerbaijan's economy has boomed during Aliyev's time in office, with average growth rates exceeding 13 percent. The country has also benefited from a planned diversification effort as Baku has used the nation's petrochemical wealth to expand and strengthen its other domestic industries.
The opposition, meanwhile, remains badly fragmented. Opposition and independent parties have fielded a total of nine candidates, most of whom had little to no name recognition in the pre-election poll or remained largely unfavorable.
More than 1,000 foreign observers are expected to monitor the polls, from various non-governmental organizations as well as from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Commonwealth of Independent States Election Observation Mission.
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