Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 20
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
The people of Azerbaijan voted overwhelmingly for President Ilham Aliyev because they like him, Caspian Group Holdings CEO Rob Sobhani told Trend.
"But beyond the fact that he is popular, the people of Azerbaijan voted for President Ilham Aliyev because he has brought stability to Azerbaijan," Sobhani noted.
On Oct. 9, Ilham Aliyev won the presidential elections in Azerbaijan, gaining 84.54 percent of votes (3 126 113 votes). The elections in Azerbaijan are held every five years.
"Under his leadership the economy is growing and jobs are being created, he has maintained Azerbaijan's independence. Thanks to his efforts Azerbaijan is now a major player on the international stage," Sobhani said, who in the early 90's played an important role in talks with the U.S. companies on oil projects in Azerbaijan.
He noted that with domestic policy President Ilham Aliyev has had enormous success, as well as in reducing the level of poverty.
"The country's annual economic growth stands at 20 percent, which is a world record," Sobhani said. "Aside from that, great investments are being made in education and health care."
Sobhani also stressed that constant growth of jobs has taken place during Ilham Aliyev's presidency and many Azerbaijanis are today employed in the private sector.
"On foreign policy, the biggest achievement of President Ilham Aliyev is Azerbaijan's positive image in the world. Today Azerbaijan is recognized as a dynamic, open, tolerant and progressive country. Specifically, because of President Ilham Aliyev's policies," Sobhani said.
He went on to add that at present, the West views Azerbaijan as a reliable energy partner.
"President Ilham Aliyev has managed to turn the country into the hub of energy exports from the Caspian region," he said.
"Azerbaijan has become a magnate for investments because of its global image as a stable country," Sobhani added.
Sobhani also noted that on Nagorno-Karabakh, President Ilham Aliyev's merit is keeping Azerbaijan's options open - to resolve the conflict peacefully, or use force if necessary.
Sobhani believes that the most important positive factor for Azerbaijan and the entire region is that the country adheres to the religious tolerance tradition, which is one of the basic principles of the Azerbaijani society's life, thanks to President Ilham Aliyev's policy.
"Azerbaijanis voted for Ilham Aliyev because he has presented a vision in which a Muslim country can be secular, as religion is not a dogma," he stressed.
Sobhani added that the people voted for Ilham Aliyev because he has restored pride to a country that for over seventy years lived under the shadow of Soviet communism, thus holding hostage the identity of what makes Azerbaijan unique.
Sobhani went on to add that towards this end, both President Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva have promoted Azeri culture, music, history and heritage by hosting international events.