Aliyev brought forward the date of the latest vote to April 11 from October 17, a move his allies said was necessary to avoid presidential and parliamentary elections clashing in 2025.
Eight candidates run for president, including incumbent president Ilham Aliyev representing Yeni Musavat ruling party, Gudrat Hasanguliyev - member of the Parliament of Azerbaijan, chairman of the Whole Azerbaijan Popular Front Party, Araz Alizada - member of the Parliament of Azerbaijan, chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, Faraj Guliyev - member of the Parliament of Azerbaijan, chairman of the National Revival Movement Party, Razi Nurullayev - political analyst, former deputy chairman of Azerbaijani Popular Front Party, Sardar Jalaloglu - politician, chairman of Azerbaijan Democratic Party.
Voters in the oil-rich Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan cast ballots Wednesday in an early presidential election that is all but certain to extend the rule of the country's long-serving leader by another seven years.
His position has also been boosted by the steady influx of money from oil into his government's coffers.
However, foreign ministry spokesman Hikmat Hajiyev told DW that the country was a "young democracy, making concrete progress every day towards becoming a democratic society". "People voted for stability, security and development".More news: Bank of America Shares Seen Rising 8% Short Term
Aliyev won his first presidential election in 2003, succeeding his father who ruled for three decades.
He was re-elected in 2008 and 2013 in polls that were denounced by opposition parties as fraudulent. Since then, two referendum outcomes have passed which scrapped a two-term limit for presidents, and another that lengthened terms of office from five to seven years.
In power for 15 years, Aliyev received 82.7 percent of the vote, a government-commissioned exit poll conducted by Azerbaijani pollster Els Independent Research Center showed.
"They cling on to power to continue looting the country's resources", said the award-winning journalist who spent 17 months in jail in 2014-2016 after she exposed official graft.
Supporters have praised the Aliyevs for turning a republic once thought of as a ex-Soviet backwater into a flourishing energy supplier to Europe.More news: Cynthia Nixon Wants To Legalize Marijuana In New York
Cementing his family's decades-long grip on power, the president past year appointed his wife Mehriban Aliyeva as first vice president.
But critics argue they have crushed opposition and used their power to fund a lavish lifestyle for themselves and their family.
Some 600 worldwide and 60,000 national observers from 11 parties are monitoring the transparency and order during the elections, which are also taking place in 421 polling stations overseas.
The Central Election Commission is to begin releasing results late Wednesday.More news: Seahawks announce preseason schedule - part of it, anyway