BAKU, Azerbaijan — Azerbaijan's ruling party looks set to win parliamentary elections in the energy-rich nation, its top election official indicated Monday, a result that would maintain President Ilham Aliyev's firm hold over the country.
With more than 90 percent of votes preliminarily counted, Sunday's vote in this former Soviet republic on the Caspian Sea appears to have given an expected victory to Aliyev, who has ruled Azerbaijan since 2003.
The country's Central Elections Commission head, Mazahir Panahov, said in a televised news conference early Monday that about 70 seats in the 125-seat legislature went to representatives of Aliyev's Yeni Azerbaijan party.
Opponents of Aliyev have already cried foul, saying they were denied a fair shot in the vote. Aliyev is often criticized by rights groups for heavy-handed treatment of independent media and opposition groups.