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Azerbaijan's Aliyev on track to win third term: exit poll

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

BAKU (Reuters) - Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev was on track to easily win a third term with 84 percent of the vote in the oil-exporting ex- Soviet republic, an exit poll showed on Wednesday after a vote his main opponent said was marred by violations.

The poll conducted by several Azeri non-governmental agencies said that Aliyev's closest rival, opposition candidate Jamil Hasanly, had received 8.2 percent of the vote in the Caspian Sea nation of 9 million.

Hasanly, a 61-year-old historian, said his party was collecting evidence of vote fraud, including ballot stuffing, and called the election undemocratic.

Azerbaijan, nestled between Iran and Russia, has enjoyed an economic boom fuelled by oil and gas in the decade since Aliyev succeeded his father, raising living standards and boosting the predominantly Muslim country's clout to court Western powers.

But Aliyev, 51, has faced criticism at home and abroad over what opponents say is the stifling of dissent and political persecution of activists.

(Reporting by Margarita Antidze and Thomas Grove, editing by Mark Heinrich)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/131009/azerbaijan-leader-aliyev-eyes-third-term-presidential-poll