The head of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on the postponement of the presidential elections in 2018 from 17 October to 11 April. Its decision the head of state is not explained. 1 Feb Aliyev was nominated for another term as President, and then on the new date of the plebiscite was not even thought. “MK” to find out what may have changed in these few days.
Pursuant to the amended in 2016 the Constitution of Azerbaijan, the 56-year-old Aliyev may run for presidential term indefinitely. And each new period of his reign will be 7 years. Amendments to the Basic law also abolished the age limit for participation in the presidential election. If the son of Ilham Aliyev, 21-year-old Heydar, had to wait 35 years to continue the “family business”, now he can lead the country if needed. Besides, in case of emergency in February 2017 Aliyev made a Vice-President with his wife Mehriban.
The desire to participate in presidential elections has said the former leader of the party “Musavat” ISA Gambar, head of the “Party of citizens and development”, Ali Aliyev, and head of the “people’s front of Azerbaijan” Mirmahmud Miralioglu. Gambar, who in the presidential election of 2003 was able to gain only 13.9% of the vote. He has said that the postponement of the voting day due to the fear Aliyev losing power.
The rest of the opposition have expressed a similar opinion. In particular, the Chairman of the National Council of democratic forces Jamil Hasanli has linked the holding of early elections with the deepening economic crisis in the country. According to him, closed 10 of 30 public banks in the country increased unemployment, but Aliyev struggling with this only cosmetic measures.
The leader of the popular front party of Azerbaijan Ali Kerimli believes that Aliyev decided to postpone the election to avoid a full-scale information campaign for its discredit. Supposedly the President of Azerbaijan learned about the plans of the opposition is to convey to the inhabitants of the Republic the idea that the President should not be elected 4 times in a row.
However, from the point of view of ordinary Azeris, the situation is seen differently. As told “MK” a resident of Baku Vagif Abbasov, within the Republic there are no serious opposition forces. “Systemic opposition in Azerbaijan just imitates activities, and extra-parliamentary organizations are too weak to create at least some threat to the ruling regime. All their activities are limited to comments on social networks. In their meetings it is evident that for more serious steps have no resources,” says Abasov.
Recall that the dynasty Aliyev have ruled Azerbaijan for a total of almost 50 years. Heydar Aliyev was the first Secretary of the Communist party of Azerbaijan from 1969 to 1982, and then President of the Republic from 1993 to 2003. After him the power was transferred to Ilham Aliyev. What is the reason to postpone the next elections, “MK” has found out from experts:
Zaur RASULZADE, Azeri political scientist:
Despite the economic crisis and the fall in oil prices, due to the leadership of Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan managed to evade major problems, so that the inner reasons for early elections there. Most likely, the President wanted to reduce the election period, to prevent hostile forces abroad to destabilize the situation in the Republic.
Stanislav PRITCHIN, an analyst with the program of Russian and Eurasian Affairs “, Chatham house»:
– Recently, Azerbaijan has begun to emerge from the economic crisis. Oil prices went up, he signed a new contract with “British petroleum”, which will expire only in 2050… Therefore, there are no economic reasons why Aliyev would win six months. Most likely, the President of Azerbaijan is trying to seize the agenda to after the election to launch reforms. Let me remind you, as soon as the price began to fall, Baku began serious reforms, which have attracted significant Western companies. But, after correcting the situation on the oil market, the transformation process in the country stopped. In addition, Aliyev might decide to synchronize their elections with a vote in the neighboring countries, Russia and Armenia. In order to minimize the foreign risks.
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