World

Azerbaijan holds parliamentary vote expected to secure ruling party's dominance

  • A woman leaves a voting cabin to cast her ballot at a polling station during a parliamentary elections in Baku, Azerbaijan, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Azerbaijani citizens are going to the polls to elect the 125 members of parliament. Voters in the oil-rich Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan are casting ballots in a parliamentary election expected to secure the ruling party’s dominance. (AP Photo/Aziz Karimov)

    A woman leaves a voting cabin to cast her ballot at a polling station during a parliamentary elections in Baku, Azerbaijan, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Azerbaijani citizens are going to the polls to elect the 125 members of parliament. Voters in the oil-rich Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan are casting ballots in a parliamentary election expected to secure the ruling party’s dominance. (AP Photo/Aziz Karimov)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man reads a ballot in front of a voting cabin at a polling station during a parliamentary elections in Baku, Azerbaijan, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Azerbaijani citizens are going to the polls to elect the 125 members of parliament. Voters in the oil-rich Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan are casting ballots in a parliamentary election expected to secure the ruling party’s dominance. (AP Photo/Aziz Karimov)

    A man reads a ballot in front of a voting cabin at a polling station during a parliamentary elections in Baku, Azerbaijan, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Azerbaijani citizens are going to the polls to elect the 125 members of parliament. Voters in the oil-rich Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan are casting ballots in a parliamentary election expected to secure the ruling party’s dominance. (AP Photo/Aziz Karimov)  (The Associated Press)

  • A woman leaves a voting cabin to cast her ballot at a polling station decorated with the national flag during a parliamentary elections in Baku, Azerbaijan, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Voters in the oil-rich Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan cast ballots Sunday in a parliamentary election that is expected to secure the ruling party's dominance. (AP Photo/Aziz Karimov)

    A woman leaves a voting cabin to cast her ballot at a polling station decorated with the national flag during a parliamentary elections in Baku, Azerbaijan, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Voters in the oil-rich Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan cast ballots Sunday in a parliamentary election that is expected to secure the ruling party's dominance. (AP Photo/Aziz Karimov)  (The Associated Press)

Voters in the oil-rich Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan are casting ballots in a parliamentary election expected to secure the ruling party's dominance.

International rights groups have accused authorities of limiting free speech, and the main trans-Atlantic security and rights group, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, has refused to monitor Sunday's vote after Azerbaijani authorities demanded that it cut the number of observers.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's government long has faced criticism in the West for showing little tolerance for dissent and holding elections that fall below democratic standards.

Opinion surveys have indicated a strong lead for the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan party, the results reflecting a rise of incomes in the nation of 9 million under Aliyev's watch, thanks mainly to the country's oil wealth.