Baku, 31 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Ilham Aliyev was today inaugurated as Azerbaijan's president at a ceremony in Baku. With one hand on a copy of the Azerbaijani Constitution, Aliyev swore to "be a worthy servant of the Azeri people." "While executing the authority of Azerbaijan's president, I swear to protect the state's independence and territorial integrity and to serve the nation wholeheartedly," Aliyev said.
The new president succeeds his father Heidar Aliyev, who led independent Azerbaijan for the past decade and the Soviet republic of Azerbaijan for two decades before that.
According to election officials, Ilham Aliyev won nearly 77 percent of the votes in the widely criticized 15 October presidential election.