Accessibility links

In Azerbaijan, A Presidential Campaign Of Contrasts

In Azerbaijan, where voters head to the polls for a presidential election on October 9, there's been a distinct difference in the campaign styles of incumbent Ilham Aliyev and the sole opposition candidate Camil Hasanli. Aliyev, who is all but certain to win a third term, has run a nearly invisible campaign limited to tightly controlled photo ops. Hasanli, by contrast, has taken to the streets, appearing in colorful rallies in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, as well as the regions.

Azerbaijan's incumbent president, Ilham Aliyev, has expressed confidence that he will win a third term in the upcoming election on October 9, and has limited his public appearances accordingly. Here, he and his wife, Mehriban Alilyeva, attend the opening of the Azerbaijan National Golf Club in the country's Guba district on September 19. 
1

Azerbaijan's incumbent president, Ilham Aliyev, has expressed confidence that he will win a third term in the upcoming election on October 9, and has limited his public appearances accordingly. Here, he and his wife, Mehriban Alilyeva, attend the opening of the Azerbaijan National Golf Club in the country's Guba district on September 19.

Aliyev's public appearances have been largely limited to ribbon-cutting ceremonies at public buildings, many of which have undergone recent renovations paid for by the presidential reserve fund. Aliyev and his wife visit the opening of a new hospital in Baku on September 12 -- with mannequins standing in as makeshift patients. 
2

Aliyev's public appearances have been largely limited to ribbon-cutting ceremonies at public buildings, many of which have undergone recent renovations paid for by the presidential reserve fund. Aliyev and his wife visit the opening of a new hospital in Baku on September 12 -- with mannequins standing in as makeshift patients.

Aliyev opens a new administrative building dedicated to the country's Anticorruption Department on September 30. Azerbaijan is regularly ranked one of the world's most corrupt countries, on a par with Nigeria and Pakistan. 
3

Aliyev opens a new administrative building dedicated to the country's Anticorruption Department on September 30. Azerbaijan is regularly ranked one of the world's most corrupt countries, on a par with Nigeria and Pakistan.

Even the few appearances where Aliyev engages with the public are carefully managed. In an August 14 visit, the president speaks to residents in Ismayili, the site of a violent police crackdown on opposition protesters in January.
4

Even the few appearances where Aliyev engages with the public are carefully managed. In an August 14 visit, the president speaks to residents in Ismayili, the site of a violent police crackdown on opposition protesters in January.

Mehriban Aliyeva, meanwhile, has put in a number of her own public appearances. Here, the Azerbaijani first lady (right) cuts the ribbon at the opening of a Baku kindergarten with her daughter, Leyla, on September 25.
5

Mehriban Aliyeva, meanwhile, has put in a number of her own public appearances. Here, the Azerbaijani first lady (right) cuts the ribbon at the opening of a Baku kindergarten with her daughter, Leyla, on September 25.

The Azerbaijani first lady opened at least eight kindergartens over a single two-day stretch as part of the run-up to elections.
6

The Azerbaijani first lady opened at least eight kindergartens over a single two-day stretch as part of the run-up to elections.

Aliyeva touring an empty kindergarten room in Baku on September 27. 
7

Aliyeva touring an empty kindergarten room in Baku on September 27.

Campaign rallies for opposition candidate Camil Hasanli, by contrast, have drawn colorful crowds estimated at several thousand. Here, a Baku rally on September 22.
8


Campaign rallies for opposition candidate Camil Hasanli, by contrast, have drawn colorful crowds estimated at several thousand. Here, a Baku rally on September 22.

Hasanli (center) has used his campaign to criticize widespread corruption in the Aliyev government, and has actively sought to meet with supporters in Azerbaijan's smaller towns and regions. Here, Hasanli prepares for a speech in the city of Sumgait on October 6. 
9

Hasanli (center) has used his campaign to criticize widespread corruption in the Aliyev government, and has actively sought to meet with supporters in Azerbaijan's smaller towns and regions. Here, Hasanli prepares for a speech in the city of Sumgait on October 6.

Hasanli's rallies have drawn a wide mix of supporters, from older Azerbaijanis to the very young. Here, a young supporter in Sumgayit wears a sticker bearing Hasanli's campaign slogan -- Basdir!, or "Enough!" 
10

Hasanli's rallies have drawn a wide mix of supporters, from older Azerbaijanis to the very young. Here, a young supporter in Sumgayit wears a sticker bearing Hasanli's campaign slogan -- Basdir!, or "Enough!"

Hasanli, a respected Cold War historian and former lawmaker, has proved a charismatic public speaker, and frequently calls on supporters to vote to "end the dictatorship of one family in Azerbaijan." Here, he speaks at a Baku rally on September 22.
11

Hasanli, a respected Cold War historian and former lawmaker, has proved a charismatic public speaker, and frequently calls on supporters to vote to "end the dictatorship of one family in Azerbaijan." Here, he speaks at a Baku rally on September 22.


Supporters have ignored threats and a heavy police presence to attend Hasanli's rallies, like this October 2 campaign stop in the northwestern city of Shaki.
12

Supporters have ignored threats and a heavy police presence to attend Hasanli's rallies, like this October 2 campaign stop in the northwestern city of Shaki.


Azerbaijan's televised presidential debates have been chaotic, with marginal pro-regime candidates using their air time to hurl epithets -- and the occasional water bottle -- at Hasanli. Aliyev has not appeared at any of the debates, using members of his ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party to speak on his behalf. 
13

Azerbaijan's televised presidential debates have been chaotic, with marginal pro-regime candidates using their air time to hurl epithets -- and the occasional water bottle -- at Hasanli. Aliyev has not appeared at any of the debates, using members of his ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party to speak on his behalf.

Pro-regime candidate Hafiz Haciyev, who threw a water bottle at Hasanli during one debate, has also called him a series of insulting names and said he was "immoral" for holding meetings with citizens from neighboring Armenia. 
14

Pro-regime candidate Hafiz Haciyev, who threw a water bottle at Hasanli during one debate, has also called him a series of insulting names and said he was "immoral" for holding meetings with citizens from neighboring Armenia.

XS
SM
MD
LG