On 5 February, President Ilham Aliyev signed an order moving this year’s presidential elections to 11 April. The elections had originally been scheduled to take place on 17 October.
The president was granted the power to call early elections by a controversial constitutional referendum in 2016. The amendments also extended the presidential term from five years to seven.
President Aliyev has been nominated for reelection by the ruling New Azerbaijan Party.
“Ilham Aliyev knew that by October the opposition would prepare a long-term campaign against falsification of the elections,” said Ali Karimli, leader of the Popular Front Party. “Therefore, he rescheduled the election to prevent protests and opposition demands for transparent, democratic elections. Aliyev does not want the pre-election period to be long and he has willfully shortened the pre-election period.”