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Musavat Withdraws From Azeri Opposition Alliance

BAKU -- Azerbaijan's oldest existing political party, Musavat (Equality), has decided to withdraw from the National Council of Democratic Forces, the country's major opposition alliance.

Deputy Chairman Mehman Cavadoglu told RFE/RL on January 7 that the decision was made two days earlier.

Cavadoglu said the party would soon issue an official statement to explain its decision.

Musavat was founded in 1911 in Baku.

The party was outlawed after the fall of the first Republic of Azerbaijan in April 1920 following the Russian Bolshevik invasion.

Many of Musavat's leaders were arrested or had to flee Azerbaijan at that time.

The party resurrected its activities in 1989 in the last years of the Soviet Union. Musavat has been in the opposition to the ruling New Azerbaijan Party since 1993.