BAKU (Reuters) - Azerbaijan's opposition said on Thursday it would challenge in court President Ilham Aliyev's victory in an election it said was marred by ballot stuffing and police interference.
Aliyev, who succeeded his father in the oil exporting state a decade ago, won 85 percent of the vote on Wednesday, official results showed, with nearly all ballots counted. Aliyev controls most levers of power and media outlets and his victory was a foregone conclusion for many in the nation of 9 million.
"We'll go to the Constitutional Court and demand that election results are cancelled," opposition candidate Jamil Hasanly told reporters.
"We gathered many examples of voting violations. There was ballot stuffing, cases of multiple voting and police interference in the electoral process."
The Azeri Central Election Commission said it had not received any complaints of violations.
Azerbaijan's fractured opposition had united for the first time in a presidential election behind Hasanly, 61, a former lawmaker and adviser to the late Abulfaz Elchibey, who was president for about a year in 1992-1993.
Azerbaijan has enjoyed an economic boom fuelled by oil and gas in the decade since Aliyev, 51, succeeded his father, raising living standards. But Aliyev has faced criticism at home and abroad over the government's treatment of its critics. Protests are quickly quashed and one rights group said a pre-election crackdown had doubled the number of political prisoners.
(Reporting By Lada Evgrashina and Nailia Bagirova; Writing by Thomas Grove; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel and Janet Lawrence)