An apparent split within the opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) has been dismissed as a government ploy to divide and weaken the opposition by the Party’s newspaper, “Azadliq”.
Former Deputy Chairman, of the APFP. Razi Nurullaev, together with a handful of former activists, yesterday (Wednesday, 19 August) addressed a press conference at the International Press Club in Baku, during which they accused Popular Front Chairman Ali Kerimli of dictatorial practices and of having usurped his powers. Nurullaev said that a congress of the Popular Front was due to be held last September but was cancelled, and that therefore Kerimli’s mandate as Chairman had expired. Nurullaev said that there was a lot of discontent within the APFP and promised to rally around those party members who wanted change
Nurullaev resigned as Deputy Chairman of the Popular Front in February of this year and has since been involved in acrimonious exchanges with Party officials. In his capacity as Deputy Chairman of the APFP responsible for international affairs Nurullaev became a familiar face on the international circuit in Baku, as a regular point of contact between the party and embassies and international organisations. Nurullaev however is not thought to have much grass root support, within the APFP or elsewhere. More…
“The National Council”, Azerbaijan’s umbrella opposition organisation, has outlined what it considers to be the necessary minimum conditions for credible elections to take place in the country. In a report published on Tuesday (18 August) the Council analysis the current political conditions and sets out four demands which it considers necessary for free and fair elections to be held.
The demands include the release of political prisoners and end of political repression; an end to restrictions on the freedom of assembly; a halt to pressure on journalists and free air time on television for political parties; and changes to the composition of the election commissions and guarantees of a fair electoral process during voting and counting.
The report of the “National Council” whilst confirming its willingness to participate in the political process, leaves some questions as to whether it will participate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections if these conditions are not met. It calls on the government to create the right conditions for the elections by implementing its demands
Photo: Leaders of the “National Council”, including Council Chairman Camil Hassanli and Popular Front leader, Ali Kerimli, at a meeting at the international Press Club in Baku (Archive Picture).
Ahead of Presidential Elections in Azerbaijan, political analyst Dennis Sammut looks at the background to the current political situation and the likely post-election scenario.
Many consider that the result of the presidential elections due to be held in Azerbaijan on 9 October is a foregone conclusion. Some polls commissioned by pro-government sources are already predicting that 90% of those voting will cast their ballot in favour of the incumbent President Ilham Aliev. The opposition claims, and many international observers agree, that the political space for those opposing the government in Azerbaijan is narrower now than at any time since the collapse of the USSR, of which Azerbaijan was one of the constituent republics.
So why is the government, the opposition, the international community and others bothering to go through the motions of having an election, and of engaging with it in different ways? The answer is that there is a political debate and process going on in Azerbaijan, in public, but mostly under the surface. The Presidential election is not the most important part of it by far, but with all its shortcomings it is still an essential piece of the jigsaw for both government and opposition. More…