Aliyev 'reaffirmed his authoritarian rule' by calling snap presidential election – expert

17:51 • 08.02.18



By his decision to call a snap presidential election in Azerbaijan, President Ilham Aliyev virtually reaffirmed his status of an autocratic leader, Tatevik Hayrapetyan, an expert in Azerbaijani studies said today, commenting on the political developments in the neighboring country.


“Aliyev is aspiring for his fourth term of presidency; this time, however, he will be elected four seven years to officiate until 2025. In an interview back in 2016, Aliyev said he sees no reason at all for a snap presidential election,” she told reporters.

Hayrapetyan addressed also the domestic situation in Azerbaijan, especially the opposition’s concerns over pressing socio-economic challenges, admitting at the same time that the relative stability on the international oil market has in a way positively influenced that country's economy.


Hayrapetyan noted that only two opposition politicians – Isa Gabar of the Musavat party and one representative of the Classical People’s Front – have so far nominated their candidacies to join the presidential race. But she ruled out any success in the opposition attempts to rally big crowds for street campaigns. 
                                                                                   

“Several opposition forces have boycotted the polls, as Aliyev himself has not brought any serious argument to [justify the plan] to call a snap presidential election,” she noted.
 

Citing recent statements by different Azerbaijani government officials, Hayrapetyan said she is under the impression that they intentionally put forward the polls “to later have free time to proceed to other important affairs” (the 100th anniversary of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic etc). The expert also called attention to Aliyev’s failure to abide by the international court’s decision free the opposition Real movement’s jailed leader (who wanted to be Aliyev’s key challenger back in 2013).


“Aliyev fails to abide by the international court’s decision, thus putting at risk his country’s membership in the Council of Europe. Also, Aliyev is speeding up the electoral processes to shift the West’s attention to Russia which too, is holding a presidential election in the near future. So the snap election is yet another step towards authoritarianism,” she added.


The expert also addressed the recent border incident, which she said demonstrated Azerbaijan's blatant disrespect for the international mediators’ urgent calls for peace.  

 

In her words, the Azerbaijani authorities have repeatedly before used the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as a pretext to resolve domestic policy issues.

Ani Ohanyan





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