Oct 4 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan holds a presidential election on Wednesday that looks certain to give Ilham Aliyev another five years in power, extending his family's rule in the oil-producing state.
* Ilham Aliyev, 51, was first elected president in October 2003 as the handpicked successor to his predecessor, his ailing father Heydar, who died two months later. He won 76 percent of the vote in 2003 and was re-elected in 2008 with 89 percent. Both elections were criticised by Western monitors.
A referendum in 2009 abolished presidential term limits, enabling Aliyev to run again.
* A personality cult around Heydar Aliyev continues 10 years after his death. Portraits of both Aliyevs hang in the offices of most Azeri public buildings. The president has ordered portraits of himself be removed during election times, but they remain a common sight.
* Per capita GDP increased to $7,850 in 2012 from $850 in 2003. Aliyev has overseen the construction of oil and gas pipelines that deliver Caspian oil and gas to Europe. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, which his father helped build, was one of Azerbaijan's first efforts to bypass former Soviet master Russia to access world energy markets.
* Human rights groups have repeatedly criticised the record of Aliyev and his father. But Azerbaijan's strategic location, for energy exports to Europe and as a transit route for U.S. troops to reach Afghanistan, has cushioned it from Western criticism, rights activists say.
* Fluent in English, Russian, French and Azeri, Aliyev has a Master's degree in history and international relations from Moscow State University of International Relations. He is married with two daughters and a son. (Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)