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Azerbaijani Eurovision Singers Join Ruling Party

Safura Alizadeh rehearses for the 2010 Eurovision song contest.

Safura Alizadeh rehearses for the 2010 Eurovision song contest.

BAKU -- Two of Azerbaijan's last three performers in the Eurovision song contest recently became members of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party (YAP), RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Safura Alizadeh, who represented Azerbaijan at the 2010 Eurovision contest, was officially accepted into YAP on February 10. She was presented with a party membership card and a multimedia CD about former President Heydar Aliyev, father of current President Ilham Aliyev.

Alizadeh, 18, said "she was very glad to be accepted into such a party," according to the YAP website. She had applied for membership into the party's youth branch on February 2, Azerbaijan's Youth Day.

Alizadeh finished fifth in the annual contest, in which dozens of European countries send a singer or music group to compete for the top prize. The winner is decided by television viewers in the European countries who vote for their favorite performers.

Ali Ahmadov, YAP's executive secretary, said during the presentation ceremony today that the party has some 240,000 "young" members. YAP says it has a total of some 526,000 members.

Aysel Teymurzadeh, Azerbaijan's 2009 Eurovision entrant, was also accepted as a YAP member earlier this week. She told the "Yeni Azerbaycan" newspaper on February 10 that she is very proud to be a member of the country's ruling party.

But Elnur Huseynov, Azerbaijan's Eurovision entry in 2008, told RFE/RL last week that he has no intention of joining any political party as he has a music education, not a political one, and prefers to remain neutral.

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