Azerbaijanis are voting on Sunday in parliamentary elections seen as a key test of President Ilham Aliyev's commitment to increasing democracy in his country.
Mr. Aliyev -- who succeeded his father as head of state two years ago -- says he believes the vote will be transparent and democratic. But opposition leaders say the arrest of campaign officials ahead of the vote and other harassment shows the election is not fair.
Thousands of local and international observers are monitoring the vote and Azerbaijani officials are marking voters' fingers with indelible ink to prevent them from casting more than one ballot. Fifteen-hundred candidates are running to fill 125 parliamentary seats. The United States says a free elections is vital to the future of the country, and to U.S.-Azerbaijani relations.