With the Presidential elections set for October 2013, the ruling party of Azerbaijan, the New Azerbaijan Party (YAP) is feeling out its competition.
Aydin Mirzazade, a Member of Parliament for YAP, told Gun.Az that the YAP considers “every candidate to be a rival” for next year’s elections. The YAP MP assured the press that the ruling party will take steps to ensure all candidates can participate and campaign in the election. Commenting on incumbent President, and YAP’s unofficially confirmed presidential candidate, Ilham Aliyev’s democratic record, Mirzazade noted that with Aliyev’s candidacy, Azerbaijan will continue on a democratic path of economic growth and stability for the next five years. In conclusion he said that YAP does not consider itself weaker or comparable to any other party.
Ramping up the rhetoric, Deputy Executive Secretary for the YAP, MP Syavush Novruzov, declared that the ruling party considers the “unification of [the Azerbaijani] opposition in one team as impossible.” Novruzov declared that the only reason the opposition parties are holding meetings is to “attract attention [that] they are taking this step together.” “Overall, [the opposition’s] goal is to [get noticed this] summer,” he concluded. Commenting on the fact that the opposition has held many meetings, Novruzov mentioned that not every party attends. Yusif Bagirzade, Chairman of the National Independence Party, however, noted that it was not necessarily the objective that all parties attend every meeting but rather to “create a centre of opposition forces.” “We want to ensure that no opposition party [is] left out of this centre,” said Bagirzade. It should be noted that during the last presidential election, Aliyev won with 88.7% of the vote.
Of particular import is that none of the major political opponents participated in that election. Moreover, the 2010 parliamentary elections were also shrouded in controversy as many prominent opposition parties failed to win a single seat.
Report compiled for CEW by Karina Gould.