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Azerbaijan: Timeline For The 6 November Legislative Elections

An antigovernment demonstration in Baku on 8 August (Turan) Below is an annotated timeline of the runup to the 6 November legislative elections in Azerbaijan.

10 November: Thousands of Yeni Azerbaycan Party (YAP) supporters gather on Baku's Qalaba (Victory) Square in response to a show of force by the opposition a day earlier.

9 November: Thousands of Azerbaijani opposition leaders and supporters demonstrate in central Baku to protest the outcome of the parliamentary elections. They disperse peacefully with pledges to continue street protests until their demands are met.

8 November: Azerbaijan's Central Election Commission annuls the results of the parliamentary elections in two electoral districts.

7 November: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev acknowledges some irregularities in the vote, but plays down criticism from the country's opposition and international observers.

6 November 2005: An independent election-monitoring organization and an opposition leader claims that violations had been observed at polling stations.

5 November 2005: The head of the ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party vows that the parliamentary elections will be free and fair.

4 November 2005: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev warns cabinet ministers against conspiring with the opposition. He says that an alleged coup plot uncovered two weeks ago would have thrown the country into civil war and anarchy if the conspirators had had their way.

3 November 2005: Opposition leaders vow to launch peaceful street protests if the elections are marred by fraud.

2 November 2005: A number of former officials confess on state television to their purported involvement in a plot to overthrow the government.

1 November 2005: Authorities bring criminal charges against Natiq Efendiyev, a deputy chairman of the opposition Democratic Party of Azerbaijan.

31 October 2005: Human Rights Watch (HRW) says it believes conditions are not met for Azerbaijan to hold free and fair parliamentary elections on 6 November.

27 October 2005: EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner tells the European Parliament the Azerbaijani government is violating basic political freedoms in the run-up to 6 November parliamentary elections.

17 October 2005: Former parliamentary speaker and Democratic Party of Azerbaijan Chairman Rasul Quliyev says he will return to Baku today to participate in the country's legislative elections next month. He is detained in Ukraine the same day and later returns to London.

14 October 2005: Azerbaijani authorities again warn that former parliament speaker Rasul Quliyev faces arrest if he tries to enter the country.

30 September 2005: The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) issues a report saying Azerbaijani authorities have ignored its recommendations to improve the legislative framework ahead of the 6 November parliamentary elections.

16 September 2005: The Ukrainian political party Pora says one of its activists, Serhiy Yevtushenko, has been detained in Azerbaijan, where he was traveling on the invitation of the Musavat opposition party. He is subsequently deported.

14 September 2005: Azerbaijani electoral officials bar the leader of the country's Islamic Party from standing as a candidate in upcoming parliamentary elections.

14 September 2005: Azerbaijan detains Ramin Tagiev, a leader of the Yeni Fakir (New Thinking) youth movement, allegedly for involvement in anti-government activities.

12 September 2005: Azerbaijani authorities detain Said Nuri, the deputy head of the Yeni Fikir (New Thinking) movement, on suspicion of plotting against the state.

7 September 2005: Election officials complete the processing of applications to participate in the 6 November elections.

5 September 2005: Election officials authorize former President Ayaz Mutalibov to run as a candidate in the 6 November parliamentary elections. (See also "Exiles’ Participation In Election Campaign Uncertain Despite Registration.")

23 August 2005: Council of Europe envoy Rene van der Linden called on Azerbaijan's government and opposition to ensure upcoming parliamentary elections are fair, saying the poll is an opportunity for the country to show it is a democratic nation.

22 August 2005: Azerbaijan's opposition Popular Front Party (AXCP) accuses the country's security forces of plotting to overthrow the party's leadership.

15 August 2005: Azerbaijani Prosecutor-General Zakir Qaralov accuses unspecified political groupings of plotting to forcibly come to power. Qaralov also warns former President Ayaz Mutalibov and parliament speaker Rasul Quliyev against returning to Azerbaijan to take part in the 6 November legislative elections, saying they would face immediate arrest.

9 August 2005: The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) welcomes recent decisions by Azerbaijani courts to clear the criminal records of seven opposition leaders sentenced on charges of fomenting public unrest nearly two years ago in Baku, allowing them to run in the November parliamentary polls.

8 August 2005: Hundreds of pro- and antigovernment demonstrators clash in Baku.

5 August 2005: The opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (AXCP) says unidentified attackers ransacked its offices in the exclave of Nakhichevan.

5 August 2005: The Azerbaijani government accuses opposition youth activist Ruslan Bashirli of accepting funds from the Armenian secret services to carry out a coup in Azerbaijan. (See also "Spy Scandal Continues To Raise Questions.")

July 2005: The opposition continues its efforts to form a united front for the November ballot.

27 July 2005: The U.S. Embassy in Baku says it will pay for an exit poll for the November legislative elections. (See also "U.S. Says Azerbaijan Should Act On Election Fraud." )

July 2005: The Azerbaijani oppostion holds a series of rallies, most attended by thousands of people, and the West continues to call for free elections.

4 July 2005: President Ilham Aliyev issues a decree setting 6 November as the date for the legislative elections.

28 June 2005: The Azerbaijani parliament adopts an election law that does not include key changes proposed by the Council of Europe, including an amendment that would improve the system for choosing local election commissions.

28 June 2005: President Ilham Aliyev says there will be no popular uprising in Azerbaijan similar to those that unseated authorities in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan.

22 June 2005: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe appeals to the Azerbaijani government to ensure free and fair elections and to conduct a dialogue with the opposition.

4 June 2005: Thousands of opposition supporters hold a peaceful rally in Baku.

21 May 2005: Azerbaijani police suppress an opposition march in Baku. The United States and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe condemn the violence.

11 May 2005: President Ilham Aliyev issues a decree intended to preclude violations and falsification during the parliamentary elections due in November.

4-5 May 2005: Representatives of the ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party (YAP) and several leading opposition parties hold talks on how to conduct the campaign for the November parliamentary elections.

19 April 2005: RFE/RL interviews opposition leaders Ali Kerimli and Eldar Namazov about their strategies for the November ballot.

18 March 2005: On 18 March, the leaders of the opposition Musavat and Democratic parties and the progressive wing of the divided Azerbaijan Popular Front Party announced their alignment in a bloc that will campaign under a joint manifesto and field a single list of candidates in the November ballot.

2 March 2005: Elmar Huseinov, the editor of the highly outspoken opposition weekly magazine "Monitor," is shot to death outside his home in Baku, a crime that is widely viewed as politically motivated.

17 January 2005: The International Press Institute accuses the Azerbaijani authorities of initiating a crackdown on the opposition media.

3 January 2005: The leading opposition newspaper "Yeni Musavat" ceases publication due to financial difficulties brought on by numerous libel cases brought by government officials.

December 2004: Opposition leader Ali Kerimli, chairman of the progressive wing of the divided Azerbaijan Popular Front Party, appeals for a united opposition front for the November 2005 parliamentary elections.

December 2004: Opposition parties allege widespread fraud in some 2,700 municipal elections held throughout the country, while President Ilham Aliyev says it is impossible to conduct "a normal dialogue" with the opposition.

31 October 2004: President Ilham Aliyev marks his first year in office.

May 2004: Ramiz Mekhtiev, who served as Azerbaijan's Communist Party ideology secretary in the1980s and since 1993 has headed the administrations of two Azerbaijani presidents, launches a scathing media attack on the opposition and on alleged foreign forces that are funding it.

7 April 2004: Freedom House issues report that says Azerbaijan has an authoritarian political system that allows minimal opportunity for dissent.

23 January 2004: Human Rights Watch issues report accusing Azerbaijan's authorities of arresting and torturing political opponents following the disputed October 2003 presidential election and of well-orchestrated electoral fraud.

31 October 2003: Ilham Aliyev sworn in as president of Azerbaijan.

18-19 October 2003: Azerbaijani police arrest dozens of demonstrators protesting Aliyev's election, prompting international organizations to deplore Baku's crackdown on the opposition.

1 6 October 2003: Azerbaijan's Central Election Commission declares that Ilham Aliyev won a landslide victory in the 15 October presidential election to succeed his ailing father, current President Heydar Aliyev.

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