World

Polls open in presidential vote in Azerbaijan, incumbent expected to win

  • Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev leaves a polling station in Baku, Azerbaijan, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Oil-rich Azerbaijan is booming and the wealth is trickling down to its poorest people. It all means that its president doesn't even need to clamp down too hard to ensure he extends a decades-long dynastic rule in elections on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev leaves a polling station in Baku, Azerbaijan, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Oil-rich Azerbaijan is booming and the wealth is trickling down to its poorest people. It all means that its president doesn't even need to clamp down too hard to ensure he extends a decades-long dynastic rule in elections on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

  • Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev prepares to cast his ballot paper during the voting at a polling station in Baku, Azerbaijan, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Oil-rich Azerbaijan is booming and the wealth is trickling down to its poorest people. It all means that its president doesn't even need to clamp down too hard to ensure he extends a decades-long dynastic rule in elections on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev prepares to cast his ballot paper during the voting at a polling station in Baku, Azerbaijan, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Oil-rich Azerbaijan is booming and the wealth is trickling down to its poorest people. It all means that its president doesn't even need to clamp down too hard to ensure he extends a decades-long dynastic rule in elections on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

  • A worker prepares a polling station in Baku, Azerbaijan, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Oil-rich Azerbaijan is booming and the wealth is trickling down to its poorest people. It all means that its president doesn't even need to clamp down too hard to ensure he extends a decades-long dynastic rule in elections this week. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    A worker prepares a polling station in Baku, Azerbaijan, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Oil-rich Azerbaijan is booming and the wealth is trickling down to its poorest people. It all means that its president doesn't even need to clamp down too hard to ensure he extends a decades-long dynastic rule in elections this week. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

Polls have opened in the presidential election in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan.

Polls opened at 0300 GMT on Wednesday in the presidential race dominated by incumbent Ilham Aliyev, whose low-key campaign for a third term reflected his confidence that he will roll over the main opposition challenger and eight fringe candidates.

Under Aliyev, the nation of 9 million has basked in oil riches that have more than tripled its gross domestic product. Aliyev inherited the presidency from his father, Geidar Aliyev, who had ruled Azerbaijan first as the Communist Party boss and then as a post-Soviet president for the greater part of three decades.

International rights groups have accused Aliyev of pressuring and harassing government critics, leaving them little breathing space to campaign.