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Caucasus Report

Azerbaijan's Most Prominent Opposition Parties Lose Parliament Mandates

Opposition leaders Ali Kerimli (left) and Isa Qambar called for the annulment of the vote and new elections.Opposition leaders Ali Kerimli (left) and Isa Qambar called for the annulment of the vote and new elections.
Opposition leaders Ali Kerimli (left) and Isa Qambar called for the annulment of the vote and new elections.
Opposition leaders Ali Kerimli (left) and Isa Qambar called for the annulment of the vote and new elections.
As widely anticipated, the November 7 Azerbaijani parliamentary elections replicated to varying degrees the most egregious failings of previous ballots. The OSCE Election Observation Mission, which, exceptionally, included Janez Lenarcic, director of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, noted in its preliminary assessment "restrictions of fundamental freedoms, media bias, the dominance of public life by one party, and serious violations on election day." It concluded that "the conditions necessary for a meaningful democratic election were not established."

According to preliminary election returns made public on November 8 by the Central Election Commission, the ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party garnered 74 of the 125 seats, up from 63 in the outgoing parliament. Nominally independent candidates who in fact are aligned with the government received 38 seats, and 10 small opposition or quasi-opposition parties the remaining 13 seats.

Civic Solidarity retained the three and Ana Vaten the two mandates they had in the previous legislature; the Democratic Reforms party, Great Creation, the Movement for National Rebirth, Umid, Civic Unity, Civic Welfare, Adalet (Justice), and the Popular Front of United Azerbaijan, most of which were represented in the previous parliament, won one seat apiece.

For the first time, not a single candidate from the main right-wing opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front (AHCP) or Musavat parties was elected to parliament. (They won two and four mandates respectively in the 2005 parliamentary elections.) The two parties, which this time around participated as a bloc, have denounced the vote as neither free, fair, nor democratic.

Musavat Party Chairman Isa Qambar told a press conference on November 8 that all the bloc's 35 candidates won election in their respective districts. He called for the annulment of the vote and new elections. AHCP leader Ali Kerimli deplored what he termed the "total falsification" that has brought Azerbaijan "closer to the standards that prevail in Uzbekistan."

Democratic Party of Azerbaijan Chairman Sardar Calaloglu, never a man to mince words, was quoted as saying the elections were "the worst, the most illegal and the least democratic" in Azerbaijan's recent history.

That conclusion is not corroborated by the OSCE Election Observation Mission's preliminary assessment. Observers registered "serious problems" during the voting at 10 percent of all polling stations visited, and assessed the vote count as "bad" or "very bad" at almost one-third of polling stations visited -- findings that may or may not accurately reflect what happened across the entire country. The corresponding figures in 2005 were 13 percent and 43 percent.

Two further statistics should be noted. Voter turnout on November 7 was marginally over 50 percent, compared with 46.8 percent in 2005 and 68 percent in 2000. Moreover, those voters who did go to the polls were overwhelmingly middle-aged or elderly, according to the Russian daily "Kommersant." Most of the younger generation apparently did not participate, whether from indifference or as a sign of silent protest is not clear.
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Comment Sorting
by: Qalib Ahmedov from: Baku
November 12, 2010 02:18
These are not the opposition parties, but pupets of the regime. No one takes these "opposition" parties seriously in Azerbiajan because we all know that they are on the scene because the despotic Aliyev regime allows it to them. They pose no threat to the Aliyev regime. Real opposition is underground or abroad. Do a reality check before reporting.
In Response

by: Murad from: London, UK
November 12, 2010 16:05
As an opposition activist abroad, with extensive contacts underground, I reject Qalib's assesment. Musavat and Popular Front are the only serious political forces that are resisting the Aliev dictatorhsip inside the country. They've done so under enourmous pressure and persecution for the last 17 years. Whatever little freedom there is left in Azerbaijan is down to people like Isa Gambar and Ali Kerimli and their parties, and sacrifices they made. I'm not suggesting they are ideal or havent made any mistakes, but they are the best of what we have. Instead of falling for Aliev regime propaganda, we should all try and help these parties and their leadership. Only unity of the Azerbaijani democratic movement, inside the coutnry and abroad, can bring about the revolutionary outcome we all desire. Without Musavat and AXCP there is no democratic movement in Azerbaijan. The unification of these parties if the first step in creating the institutional framwork for cotinued struggle.
In Response

by: Tahir Ceferli from: Baki-Basqal
November 15, 2010 10:35
Murad, pretending to be an outstanding underground worker, and with wide contacts with the underground! You still don’t realize that the underground are the ones who gave the Karabakh Armenians. Armenians did not take Shusha and Lachin, while the APF is not liberated these territories for them. May 15, 1992 through the streets of Baku drove tanks and armored personnel carriers were brought out of the Karabakh front, to make the capital a coup. Already in June 1993 with one's tail between the legs facing the threat of reprisals A. Mutallibov for such betrayal, A. Aliyev, I. Gambar, A.Kerimli,E. Mamedov, R. Guliyev, I. Hamidov , M and R. Javadovs and others from APF was invited to Baku Heydar Aliyev. Clung to him like a rope of salvation. We still remember, Javadov flew with H. Aliyev to Baku and to save this scum of the bayonet S. Huseynov.
Then the brothers M. and R. Javadovs betrayed his friend S. Huseynov, who was removed Aliev, consolidating his power.
Further, even worse. R. Javadov himself fell into the trap of Turkish provocateur Demirgolya and died, and his brother fled for his cordon .- You mean as underground worker, who allegedly organized the Free Movement of Azerbaijan?
What sensible person would go for the cops and prosecutors who put the people for what they did not bring him tribute.
Azerbaijan is really no opposition parties, for which people will go. There is a reason for him. It is that the leaders of these parties in its origin not indigenous Azerbaijan. Represent different clans, strive, by all means is not, to come to power. Is it not as a result of betrayal NFA had come to power? Read Burbulis. Your would-be leaders 18 April 1992 in Makhachkala, agreed to pay Shusha and Lachin Armenians to be at the helm of power in Azerbaijan. This betrayal was attended by many of your opposition leaders for whom you are performing in an unnecessary controversy. Unlike you, many consider them traitors to the motherland.
In our memories are fresh developments in Ganja, when by order of jerk A. Elchibey was surrounded Ganja, as a result of an armed clash killed civilians and national hero of Azerbaijan. This is a shame your opposition can not even wash the acid, because they raised their hands to their people. Not Armenians surrounded Ganja, and your current opposition.
The people did not choose any representatives of Musavat, or NFA for this reason why you can not see from the UK. If you want to chose. I do not think that ever he wants.
Great underground! In this historical moment, Aliyev is the only political leader who, unlike your opponents and gone into hiding, his hands were not in the blood of his people. He does everything possible to free the earth is given to Armenians leaders of the APF.
And we know that he will succeed in this business, if his path will not rag-tag in the image of the Armenian agents of influence, like you.

by: Tahir Ceferli from: Baki- Basqal
November 13, 2010 11:28

In order to understand what are the "opposition party" Azerbaijan should do a historical excursion into the past. So-called "opposition party" were created Aliev to in 1993 to come to power. with their recruited agents Abulfaz Elchibey.
Confirmation of my words: before the parliamentary elections showed the photograph Radio Liberty, which Abulfaz Elchibey kisses with Aliev. As you know, from the KGB prison have three choices: death, betrayal and the loony bin. And it is no longer a secret to all that he chose A. Elchibey way.
All of these opposition parties were sent out to the people of Azerbaijan has lost Karabakh and A.Elchibey to bring to power his chuck H.Aliyev .
In fact, these parties did not constitute opposition to the authorities, if put into words the correspondent to Guseynbala Salimov, these "parties are in the service of government and represent the interests not of the Azerbaijan people, and officials, the oligarchs, mainly from Armenia and Nakhichevan clan, which rise to power of these parties.
Now the ladder do not actually have indigenous Azerbaijan. The reason is that "these opposition parties"
In this election, none of them got into parliament. And the reason is not that there were irregularities in polling stations, and that people, knowing they are not voted for them.
Azerbaijan people will never forgive them Shusha, Lachin, Kelbedzhar and Genji, which shed the blood of Azerbaijan Popular Front and killed a national hero of Azerbaijan. And most importantly, lost confidence in him.
At the moment, officials - the oligarchs use them to exert pressure on the President of the Republic. Felt that within the power structures is a struggle for power, which involves "the opposition party."
They have created different political groupings or blocs unable to lift people into the struggle for genuine democracy. They try to put pressure on the top echelons of power to scare and snatch from their bosses more money.
On the eve of these political parties regrouped to hold their representatives oligarchs in Parliament.
This can be seen with the naked eye. None of the "opposition" party has to nominate members of people who could win the elections in those areas where the oligarchs were served. It is undeniable that in Azerbaijan there is dissatisfied with the authorities. Them fully. They constitute a real political force that can resist the bureaucratic chaos.
The essence of the so-called "opposition" is that it prevents the unification of these forces in the service of officials, tycoons.
After the sampling period was marked by the fact that the "opposition party" once again united put forward new demands to the authorities, which, naturally, is connected by a tycoon to nominate the first echelon of the parliamentary and Council of Ministers hierarchy. Everyone knows that soon the National Assembly of Azerbaijan, will have to elect a new President. Who will? Rather a representative of the clan will be chairman, Nakhchivan, or "Armenian". When you select it will take into account personal contribution of the elected candidate to calm the "opposition".
That's what happens in Azerbaijan, Mr Ghalib Akhmedov.
In one you can be assured. Only presidential couple until it confronts antics officials oligarchs. God forbid if with him something to happen in Azerbaijan will start a civil war, which as you know is not in favour of the Azerbaijani people.
The historical situation requires a combination of people around their President, who is eager to settle the Karabakh problem. There are currently playing in our favour, fortune turned against the Armenians. We must be patient and we will see the victory of our people, and then it will be easy to deal with these "opposition" and their bosses, officials of the oligarchs.
In Response

by: Murad from: London, UK
November 15, 2010 05:08
In response to the Alievist propagandist, Mr Ceferli, I just want to say that your regime will not be able to stay in power for long. Heydar Aliev and now his son have committed many crimes against Azerbaijani people and the movement is rising - opposition parties are uniting into a signle force, youth activists groups are being set up, new media iniatives are being undertaken - there is dissent and opposition in all sections of Azerbaijani society. The end of the ALiev regime is not too far.

History will never forget how Heydar Aliev signed a treasonous separate peace agreement with Armenians in May 1992 and sat in Nakchivan the whole war whilst Popular Fron government bravely defended the country against Russo-Armenian aggaression. And where was Ilham Aliev during the war? Playing in casinos or in some brothel in Moscow or Istanbul.

So please dont give me your revisionist "history". Your "president" Aliev is a traitor to his country, a corrupt tyrant and oppressor of Azerbaijani people. And now he plans to sell Karabakh out by signing up to anti-Azerbaijani Madrid Principles. And if you know history, you should know what happnes to leaders who betray their countries. You should also remeber what happens to lackeys and servants of such corrupt leaders - "they follow their masters to the scaffold".

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.