A second video has surfaced in the seat-buying scandal that emerged at the end of September in Azerbaijan implicating a prominent governing party Member of Parliament, Gular Ahmadova, in an attempt to sell a seat in the Milli Majliss, the Parliament of Azerbaijan, to the former rector of the Azerbaijan International University, Elshad Abdullayev.
The second video was sent to Azadliq, an opposition newspaper, on 8 October by Mr. Abdullayev in an attempt to demonstrate that this was not an isolated incident and Ms. Ahmadova was not acting alone as insinuated by several lead members of the governing New Azerbaijan Party (YAP). Rather, the exiled Azerbaijani academic hoped this video would show the pervasiveness in Azerbaijan of fixing the parliament through bribery. Abdullayev informed Azadliq that following the statements made by the governing YAP and its supporters indicating the uniqueness of this event, he wanted to make it clear that his experience was by no means an isolated incident.
In the second video, which appears to be a continuation of the same meeting as that of the initial footage, several key political figures are named in the seat-selling scheme. These include former ministers Farhad Aliyev and Ali Insanov, as well as the current Minister of Emergency Situations, Kamaladdin Heydarov, the head of the Presidential Administration Ramiz Mehdiyev and even incumbent President Ilham Aliyev and his wife, the First Lady, Mehriban Aliyeva.
Since the original video was released, Ms. Ahmadova has resigned her seat in parliament and had her YAP membership suspended, and is under investigation by the Baku City Prosecutor’s Office for alleged bribery under Article 178.3.2 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. Ms. Ahmadova’s seat will go to a by-election, though the Central Election Commission has not provided specific details about when or how the by-election will take place. Some opposition critics are saying that Ms. Ahmadova is being used as a scapegoat in an attempt to cover up pervasive corrupt practices within the ruling party.
The opposition Public Chamber is attempting to rally support behind this issue and is calling for greater transparency from the government. However, the government has rejected the Public Chamber’s request to organise a protest against this incident in Central Baku. “They [the Public Chamber] said that their rally will demand the dissolution of the Parliament,” said Deputy Chairman and Executive Secretary of the YAP Ali Ahmadov in an interview with trend.az. “The reason for this [rally] is a scandal over a video with former MP Gular Ahmadova and former rector of the Azerbaijan International University Elshad Abdullayev. This is a completely unjustified reason for the mass action. I think that the public will not support the Public Chamber rally,” concluded Ahmadov. Ahmadov noted that the Public Chamber had been offered a different location to hold their rally, though he did not specify where.
Source CEW with Azerbaijani media.