A presidential election was held in Azerbaijan
on October 15 2003
. As expected, Ilham Aliyev
, son of the outgoing president, Heydar Aliyev
, was easily elected in an election which international observers held not to be free or fair.
Human Rights Watch
commented on these elections
: "Human Rights Watch research found that the government has heavily intervened in the campaigning process in favor of Prime Minister Ilham Aliev, son of current President Heidar Aliev. The government has stacked the Central Election Commission and local election commission with its supporters, and banned local non-governmental organizations from monitoring the vote. As the elections draw nearer, government officials have openly sided with the campaign of Ilham Aliev, constantly obstructing opposition rallies and attempting to limit public participation in opposition events. In some cases, local officials have closed all the roads into town during opposition rallies, or have extended working and school hours - on one occasion, even declaring a Sunday work day - to prevent participation in opposition rallies." (source: HTML format