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Split Reported In Azerbaijani Opposition Party

Members of the Azerbaijani opposition (AFP) 9 January 2006 -- Reports from Baku say a split has occurred within the opposition National Independence Party of Azerbaijan (Azerbaycan Milli Istiqlal Partiyasi).

Former AMIP chairman Etibar Mammadov told reporters today that the party's central committee had decided to suspend the mandate of its current leader, Ali Aliyev. Mammadov said a party congress would later this month decide on whether to reinstate Aliyev to his post.

Two rival AMIP meetings took place on Sunday in Baku, one under Mammadov's chairmanship, the other under Aliyev's.

Mammadov stepped down as AMIP chairman in December 2004. However, he reportedly still considers himself the party's leader.

Aliyev on Sunday accused Mammadov of secretly siding with the government.

Mammadov participated in last November's disputed parliamentary polls as a candidate for the Yeni Siyaset (New Politics) coalition. He was not elected.


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