Scandal over buying of parliamentary seats continues to resonate in Azerbaijan after the emergence of a second video.

The Executive Secretary of the ruling new Azerbaijan Party, Ali Akhmadov.

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. More…

Oscanian case can backfire against Armenian authorities

Vartan Oscanian

After his political immunity was formally revoked in parliament at the beginning of October, former Foreign Minister and prominent opposition politician, Vartan Oskanian, was officially charged on 8 October with the misappropriation of $1.4 million donated by U.S. philanthropist, John Hunstman Sr. to the Civilitas Foundation, a think tank Oskanian founded in 2008.

Karina Gould followed reactions in Armenia and beyond for CEW. More…

The “Bidhzina Phenomena” and the Caucasus Region.

Bidhzina Ivanishvili at a Press Briefing.

As the process of political transition in Georgia gathers pace, and with the prospect of political co-habitation between the two main political forces in the country, at least for the next year, the question now needs to be asked how the new situation will impact the region of the Caucasus as a whole.

In this special commentary for Caucasus Elections Watch Dennis Sammut analysis the impact of the “Bidhzina phenomena” on the Caucasus Region. More…

Armenian politician charged.

Vartan Oscanian

The Armenian National Security Service (NSS) Department of Investigation on Monday, 8 October  formally charged the Civilitas Foundation  founder Vartan Oscania in a case that has already become a centre of international attention. Karina Gould followed events in the days leading to the formal charges.

After two days of deliberations, Vartan Oskanian, a prominent legislator with the opposition Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) and former Foreign Minister of Armenia, lost his right to political immunity in a 64-6 vote in the Armenian National Assembly on Tuesday 2, October.

The motion was put foward by the Prosecutor General of Armenia, Aghvan Hovsepyan, asking MPs to vote in favour of revoking Oskanian’s political immunity in order to initiate a criminal investigation for allegedly laundering $1.4 million from the charity he founded, the Civilitas Foundation. More…

The blue heartlands and red borderlands: danger of regional faultlines in Georgian politics needs to be addressed.

Civil.ge published a map showing the regional colour divide at Georgia’s recent elections

No doubt political analysts in Georgia and beyond will for some time be analyzing the results of the Georgian parliamentary elections to ask what exactly happened that saw such a dramatic swing in favour of the opposition, and why the party of President Saakashvili was so heavily punished by the Georgian voters.

There are however other issues that are going to require further study. Two maps published originally by the leading Georgian news portal civil.ge – the first port of call for many who want to keep in touch with Georgian affairs – show the distribution of seats and votes in the election. They tell an important story. More…

An elegant start to a difficult transition.

Georgian Dream and United National Movement delegations meeting on 5 October to map out transition of power.

The events in Georgia over the last few days cannot be described as anything but historic. Within minutes of the close of polling in the 1 October Parliamentary elections all exit polls indicated that the elections had been won by the Georgia Dream opposition coalition led by Bidhzina Ivanishvili.

For a tense few hours it was not clear how the government of President Saakashvili would react. Early signs were disturbing. There were reports of systematic attempts to alter the vote in favour of the ruling party in a number of marginal constituencies. Then there was statement by Saakashvili himself saying that Georgian Dream had won more seats under the party list vote, but that his United National Movement had won a majority of the single member constituencies vote. If true, this would have opened the way for what many had feared would be a nightmare scenario where two parties claimed victory.

In the end however commonsense and statesmanship prevailed. Saakashvili appeared on television and conceded defeat. A normal transition of power through the ballot box has never happened in the South Caucasus before. In Georgia the situation is even more complicated because of the constitutional peculiarities which leave a president in office from a different party, and at least for the next few months with strong power.

Georgians learned very quickly the meaning of political co-habitation. More…