1995-96 parliamentary elections
Parliamentary elections were held in two rounds in 1995. The results were declared invalid due to fraud in 15 constituencies. New elections were held in February 1996.
The New Azerbaijan Party won 63% of the vote and 59 seats (out of 125). Three other parties surmounted the 8% barrier, two of which were “loyal”parties: the Azerbaijan National Independence Party (9% and 4 seats) and the Motherland Party (8% and 1 seat). The only opposition party to get into parliament was the Azerbaijan Popular Front (9.7% and 4 seats). OSCE observers noted numerous irregularities, and concluded that the elections were “neither free nor fair.”
1998 presidential election
Aliyev was re-elected with 78% of the vote. Etibar Mammadov and Nizami Suleimanov, leaders of the “loyal” Azerbaijan National Independence Party and Azerbaijan Independence Party, came in second and third with 12% and 8%respectively. Firudin Hassanov of the Azerbaijan Communist Party got1%.
2000 parliamentary elections
According to official results, the New Azerbaijan Party won 71% of the vote, and no other party surmounted the barrier to entry into parliament, even though the barrier was now only 6%. Pre-election polls had indicated that the opposition Musavat Party enjoyed more electoral support than the New Azerbaijan Party. The OSCE concluded that the conduct of the elections fell short of international standards.
2003 presidential election
Heydar Aliyev’s son, Ilham Aliyev, stood against several opposition candidates, the strongest of which was Isa Gambar of the Musavat Party, in the October election. According to the official results, Aliyev received 76% of the vote and Gambar 14%.
OSCE observers judged the elections to have “fallen short of OSCE commitments and international standards,” while one third of the observers published a more sharply worded dissenting opinion. The election results led to rioting and violence in several Azeri cities. The government responded with arrests of opposition supporters throughout the country, including areas where no violence had occurred. There were also arrests of election officials who had refused to ratify the results in their polling districts.