Azerbaijian ruling party leads early poll results: officials

Opposition parties have accused the government of limiting their ability to campaign for the election and several parties boycotted the vote

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev's ruling party won a majority of seats in snap parliamentary polls, according to early results, the election commission said Monday.

Early tallies showed the Yeni (New) Azerbaijan party won 65 seats in the 125-member parliament, the Milli Majlis, after 87 percent of electoral precincts declared results in the first-past-the-post ballot, said central election commission chief Mazahir Panahov.

The ruling party -- which faced little challenge from the embattled opposition -- promised that Sunday's election would be democratic, but opposition parties have accused the government of limiting their ability to campaign and several parties boycotted the vote.

"The elections were totally falsified," opposition leader Arif Gadjily of the Musavat party told AFP after polls closed, denouncing what he claimed was widespread ballot stuffing and multiple voting.

Electoral commissions are controlled by Aliyev's party and all of the oil-rich country's television stations refused to allocate airtime to the opposition parties.

With most powers concentrated in the presidency, parliament has a limited role in the Caspian nation's political system.

Aliyev has ruled the ex-Soviet state with an iron fist since he was first elected in 2003, after the death of his father, Azerbaijan's Soviet-era Communist leader and former KGB general Heydar Aliyev.

Under the Aliyev dynasty, Baku has faced strong international criticism for persecuting political opponents and suffocating independent media.

Sunday's ballot has been monitored by international observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.