Presidential elections were held in Azerbaijan on Wednesday, 11 April 2018. Eight candidates ran for the presidency. Incumbent President Ilham Aliyev was re-elected president for a seven-year term. The election was the first since the 2016 Constitutional Referendum, which extended the presidential term from five to seven years.
Article 178 §1 of the electoral law sets the third Wednesday of October as the date for presidential elections, which would have meant the elections were held on 17 October 2018. However, the vote was unexpectedly brought forward by a presidential decree on 5 February 2018. Azerbaijan's Central Election Commission (CEC) held a poll on 1 February 2018 on the preparation and delivery of double cabins for the voting room.
Araz Alizadeh – member of the Parliament of Azerbaijan, chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Azerbaijan. Previously participated in the 2013 presidential elections and finished seventh.
Faraj Guliyev – member of the Parliament of Azerbaijan, chairman of the National Revival Movement Party. Previously participated in the 2013 presidential elections and finished eighth.
The National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF) decided to boycott the elections and intends to launch protests against the elections. Another organisation, the Republican Alternative Movement (REAL), also announced that it would not recognize the results of the elections, calling them as a "hasty and unjustified step". On 10 February the Musavat Party announced that it would also boycott the elections and its leader Isa Gambar would not run for president. The same day, another opposition party, the Party of Hope, also announced that they would not participate in the elections.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) announced that the election was flawed and undemocratic. In a press conference the day after the election, the OSCE found that there was “widespread disregard for mandatory procedures, a lack of transparency, and numerous serious irregularities, including ballot box stuffing.” It is also noted that "at same time, authorities were co-operative, international observers were able to operate freely in the pre-election period, election administration was well-resourced and prepared the election efficiently and voting process was overall orderly and smooth in most polling stations observed." Aliyev's supporters took to disrupting the press conference and accused the international observation mission of bias.
A poll by ELS on 27 March found that 84.1% of respondents intended to vote for Aliyev. A poll by AJF & Associates on 28 March concluded that 82.9% or respondents intended to vote for Aliyev.