BAKU: Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev today called an early presidential election for Feb 7, according to a document published by his office.
Aliyev, 61, was last re-elected in 2018 for a seven-year term and, with political dissent largely suppressed, is almost certain to win a new term next year.
In September, Aliyev ordered a lightning offensive, after a nine-month blockade, to retake control of the breakaway ethnic Armenian-controlled territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, a second successful assault in the space of three years.
In doing so, he righted what he and most in Azerbaijan saw as the historical wrong of the region’s de facto secession in a bloody ethnic conflict that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Helped by his country’s oil wealth, Aliyev has established a solid alliance with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan while also managing to maintain working relationships with both Russia and the west, deeply at odds over Moscow’s war in Ukraine.