Having gained independence in 1991, in the context of the collapse of the Soviet Union of which it constituted a republic, the young state immediately had to face the serious problem represented by Nagorno-Karabah, an enclave where the Armenian majority had been in revolt since 1988. Independence from the USSR, in fact, made the conflict more acute, causing an acceleration of the internal conflict and a state of war, albeit not formally declared, with Armenia. The military setbacks in Nagorno-Karabah directly affected the political life of Azerbaijan, causing it to become very unstable. Thus a confused political affair developed, in which the Popular Front had a good game asking for the resignation of President Ayaz Mutalibov, giving rise to a tug-of -war with the Parliament, forced to surrender its powers (May 1992) to Melli-Medijlis, an assembly made up of notables loyal to the old communist leader Geidar Aliev and radical exponents of the Popular Front. But not even the leader of the Popular Front, Ebulfez Elcibey, elected president the following month, was able to change the tide of the ongoing clash with the Armenians and, after yet another setback, was forced to flee from the angry crowd of the capital. Aliev was thus proclaimed president of Azerbaijan by Melli-Medijlis and confirmed (October 1993) by popular vote. The sudden changes at the top of Azerbaijan, however, did not prove sufficient to subvert the fate of the conflict, so much so that the Armenians, as well as Nagorno-Karabah, managed to conquer a third of Azerbaijani territory, while they had not followed the negotiation initiatives. initiated by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) since 1992. In this situation, Azerbaijan signed, however, important contracts for the exploitation of its oil fields in the Caspian Sea. However, this did not affect the political stability of the country, whose capital was the subject of attacks which were superimposed on some attempts (1994-95), however unsuccessful, to overthrow Aliev. He managed to somehow strengthen his power by passing a new Constitution in the presidential sense, while his party, New Azerbaijan (Ya), won the majority of the 125 seats foreseen in the new Parliament (February 1996). Meanwhile, in the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabah Republic, presidential elections saw the victory of Armenian separatist leader Robert Kocharyan (1996), whose subsequent appointment as prime minister of the Armenia (1997) caused new violent clashes between the two countries. President Aliev, seeking peaceful solutions to the conflict, finally seemed to find a resolution to the problem of the independence of Nagorno-Karabah in the same year with an agreement that saw Azerbaijan withdraw its troops and grant autonomy to the region.
According to aceinland, the presidential elections of October 1998, boycotted by the opposition and polluted by heavy fraud, reconfirmed the supremacy of Aliev (76.1%), causing a reshuffle of the government chaired since 1996 by A. Rasizade. The political elections of 2000 saw further confirmation of the political line adopted by the New Azerbaijan party, decreeing its victory together and the nomination of its parliament as president of the leader, Ilham Aliev, son of the President of the Republic Geidar Aliev. In 2003 Geidar Aliev died and new elections were held, contested by the opposition: Ilham Aliev was elected president of the Republic. In a climate of growing contestation, the administrative elections of 2005 confirmed New Azerbaijan, however the OSCE defined the vote as not conforming to the standards of democracy. In the two-year period 2006/2007 the country enjoyed significant economic development supported by crude oil prices and foreign investments in the oil sector. In July 2007, presidential elections were held in the autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabah which saw the victory of the former head of the regional security forces, Bako Sahakyan. The following year, in October, President I. Aliev was reconfirmed in the presidential elections, again criticized by the opposition and international observers. In March 2009, more than 90% of voters approved in a referendum a change to the constitution that guaranteed President Aliev to reapply unlimited times. In July the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia, in the presence of the Russian president D. Medvedev undertook to peacefully resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh question. The majority party of President Aliev won the legislative elections in November 2010, while the opposition accused fraud and irregularities. Meanwhile, tensions with the Nagorno-Karabah region continued, in which legislative elections were held, considered illegal by the Baku government. Aliev’s party also won a majority of seats in the 2015 elections, which saw the Azerbaijani politician once again elected to the country’s presidency. Through a popular referendum held in September 2016, 91% of the Azerbaijani population gave their consent to the introduction of reforms that would have given even greater powers to President Aliev, and would have facilitated the mechanism of transmitting power to their children. In April 2018 Aliev was elected for the fourth term by a large majority (86% of the votes), but once again the elections were marred by serious irregularities.