The West has heaped criticism on Azerbaijan's conduct of parliamentary elections, but authorities in the oil-rich republic dug in their heels and denied major fraud.
"The elections were a step back for democracy in Azerbaijan," Norwegian Ambassador Steinar Gil told journalists in the ex-Soviet state's capital Baku on Tuesday.
However, Aliyev, who two years ago succeeded his dying father Heydar Aliyev in a controversial presidential poll, insisted not only that the elections were free, but that the international community was satisfied.
"All the international reports of the international monitoring missions were fine," Azer Gasimov, spokesman for Aliyev, told journalists.
"It doesn't say in them that the elections did not meet international standards," he said.
This assertion flew in the face of clear condemnations from Western monitors who reported seeing widespread violations.
I see that President Aliyev has been taking lessons from the Bush administration. I would also not be surpised if Azerbaijan used Diebold-paper ballots.