Aliev calls poll six months early, leading to speculation about his motives.
According to Article 179.1 of the Constitution, extraordinary presidential election is held in Azerbaijan in the case of its announcement by the country's president.
Opposition leaders slammed the decision to bring the vote forward. "We can say with confidence that Ilham Aliyev has a great opportunity to win a brilliant victory and to be re-elected as the president". Jamil Hasanli, chairman of the National Council of Democratic Forces, said "the deterioration of the socio-economic situation in the country contributes to a steady decline in the authority of those in power", info.AZ reports, citing Turan.
Baku is facing possible sanctions from the Council of Europe stemming from Mammadov's imprisonment, which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled unjust. Azerbaijan's neighbor and enemy is transitioning into a parliamentary system and away from a top-heavy presidential regime, a situation that might discomfort Aliev, Altay Goyushov, an Azerbaijani historian, told EurasiaNet.org.
Hasanov mentioned that the independent policy pursued by President Ilham Aliyev has served the national interests of Azerbaijan, ensuring comprehensive and rapid development of the country, renewing and modernizing all aspects of society, and improving welfare of the people.
So far, two opposition candidates - Musavat party leader Isa Gambar and the chairman of the Classical Popular Front Party Mirmahmud Miralioglu - have announced they plan to run for president. Heydar Aliyev was forced to step down due to health issues in late 2003 and died shortly after with his son took over.