Azerbaijan stands on the precipice of a landmark moment. President Ilham Aliyev has called for snap presidential elections, scheduled for February 7, 2024, marking a potential turning point in the nation’s history. The vote was originally going to be held in October 2025. The elections is largely predictable. With a strong political and administrative legacy, incumbent President Ilham Aliyev is likely to secure a landslide victory to serve the nation for another seven-year term. A New Dawn The holding of snap elections is anchored on two key themes: the “full restoration of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty” and the desire to hold elections in the newly liberated territories. The liberation of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan in 2020 from Armenian occupation undoubtedly represents a momentous achievement, solidifying Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity while bolstering President Aliyev’s domestic standing. As the country embarks on a “new era,” the election is seen as a mandate for a fresh start, legitimizing a new chapter in Azerbaijan’s history. This sentiment is further underscored by the promise of holding elections in the newly recovered territories for the first time. Another key rationale revolves around inclusivity. For the first time in its independent history, Azerbaijan aims to conduct presidential elections in every corner of the nation, including the liberated territories. This move underscores the government’s commitment to national unity and signifies the complete reintegration of previously occupied regions into the political fabric of the country. Two Decades of Change President Aliyev’s 20-year tenure is marked by numerous social and economic transformations, warranting a public reaffirmation of his leadership and successes. Pointing to tangible improvements in living standards, infrastructure development, and strategic reserves, the administration presents the election as an opportunity to assess and endorse this period of change. Why Cannot Some Accept Azerbaijan’s Success? It’s regrettable that certain countries and international bodies have struggled to acknowledge and appreciate Azerbaijan’s splendid achievements. Despite Azerbaijan’s relentless efforts, voices in the international community have often diverged fromperspective, opting instead to cast unwarranted blame and apply pressure tactics. Azerbaijan’s victories, have been secured through rigorous political and diplomatic maneuvers on the global stage. Critics of Azerbaijan frequently resort to the rhetoric of adversary nations or act as proxies for those seeking to undermine its progress. Why Aliyev Faces Strong Odds for Re-election? “Aliyev’s approval ratings had always been high, and they skyrocketed after the victorious military operation in Karabakhin September 2023. He is at the peak of his popularity,” said political analyst Farhad Mammadov. President Ilham Aliyev’spath to re-election in the upcoming February 2024 snap elections appears well-paved, largely due to a confluence of factors that have enhanced his popularity and solidified his image as a transformative leader. Let’s delve into the key reasons contributing to his potential victory: Tangible Socio-Economic Progress: Under Aliyev’sleadership, Azerbaijan has witnessed significant economic growth. Key statistics paint a compelling picture: • GDP Surge: From 2003 to 2022, Azerbaijan’s GDP skyrocketed from $7.3 billion to $78.7 billion, marking a staggering 1079% increase. • Booming Budget: State budget expenditures witnessed considerable growth, rising from 1.2 billion manats to 36.6 billion manats, representing a 3050% increase. • Financial Fortification: Azerbaijan’s strategic currency reserves have grown exponentially, jumping from $1.4 billion to $66.1 billion, a 4650% increase. • Improved Living Standards: The average monthly salary has seen a notable rise, climbing from 77.4 manats to 839.4 manats, reflecting a 1081% increase. • Poverty Reduction: The most impactful change is the drastic reduction in poverty, plunging from 44.7% to 5.5%, representing an 87% decrease. Historic Military Victory: The 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War stands as a pivotal moment in Azerbaijani history. Reclaiming territories occupied for nearly 30 years have solidified Aliyev’simage as a strong leader, who restored territorial integrity and national pride. This liberation has generated immense public support for him. Enhanced Global Standing: Azerbaijan’s international profile has risen under Aliyev, further bolstering his image. Hosting prestigious events like Formula 1 car racing and the Islamic Solidarity Games, chairing the Non-Aligned Movement, and securing a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, project Azerbaijan as a promising player on the global stage. The snap presidential elections in Azerbaijan mark a significant juncture in the country’s political history. Moving forward, addressing domestic and international concerns, while capitalizing on recent successes will be quintessential forAzerbaijan’s future trajectory.