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Azerbaijan: Parliamentary Speaker Removed

Baku, 11 September 1996 (RFE/RL) - Deputies of Azerbaijan's parliament voted overwhelmingly today to accept the resignation of Parliament Chairman Rasul Guliev, report Russian news agencies.

Interfax reports that his resignation was accepted by a vote of 98 to 8, with 4 abstentions.

Guliev's letter of resignation, which was read to parliament, said he wished to step down for health reasons. But the step came just one day after President Gaidar Aliev's ruling New Azerbaijan party released a statement sharply criticizing Guliev. The statement cited recent comments by Guliev in which he criticized the government's economic course and called for faster reforms.

The party statement accused Guliev of damaging the country's international prestige and scaring foreign investors. It called on the parliament, dominated by its members, to take disciplinary steps.

Itar Tass reports that Guliev's letter of resignation pledged full support for Aliev, who was in attendance. Interfax reports that Aliyev thanked Guliev for his work.