Books on Azerbaijan
Update No: 325 - (28/01/08)
Aliyev congratulates Saakashvili
The victory of Mikhail Saakashvili in Georgia is a major event for Ilham
Aliyev. The two presidents have much in common, although they are also very
different in many ways. Aliyev hastened to congratulate the victor of the
January 5 election.
They aspire to align their countries with the West. They want to join NATO and
ultimately the EU. As inhabitants of the Caucasus, this is quite feasible.
That puts both of them, however, at loggerheads with Russia. Actually, Russia
has more immediate reasons to be dissatisfied with them – they are playing
host to pipelines that are taking Central Asian energy to the West, skirting
Russian ones. They are no longer subservient to Muscovy, their fate in times of
But a prime condition of joining the West is to hold proper elections. The
opposition claims that the Georgian election was rigged. It came after all after
demonstrations of 100,000 against the regime in November last.
Now for Azerbaijan
The ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) has started preparation work on the
threshold of the presidential election in Azerbaijan. This is scheduled for 15
October 2008. NAP stated predictably that the party would nominate the
candidature for the presidential post of the current president.
The Azadlig bloc, which unites opposition parties Popular Front, Liberal,
Citizen and Development, stated that the bloc would boycott the upcoming
election if no changes were made in the composition of election commissions.
According to Gurbanli, the ruling party implemented an analysis of previous
errors made during the previous elections held in the country. “NAR will
implement preparations to the election campaign in compliance with the election
program. The key factor which can provide a successful election campaign at the
upcoming presidential election is the existence of respect and power of the
party’s candidate among Azerbaijani voters,” Gurbanli said. One of the main
directions of the party is to hold a meeting on the threshold of the election
where the candidature from the party officially is to be approved.
NAP was founded in the Azeri enclave of Nakhchivan in 1992. The All-Nation
Leader, late ex-President Heydar Aliyev was the first Chairman of the Party.
President Ilham Aliyev, his son is the present Chairman of the Party, which has
been ruling for 14 years.
A vibrant economy- and how!
The reason for the continuity of the Aliyev clan in Azerbaijan is the
extraordinary buoyancy of its economy. It is growing at a phenomenal rate of
over 30% per annum, due of course to oil. There is a lot of leeway for a
government presiding over such a bonanza.
Incomes are always statistically upwards, at least for the majority, although is
a statistical outcome. In fact there is not a lot of trickle-down to the
population at large and unemployment has been widespread since the end of
The one and a half million displaced Nagorno Karabakh refugees are faring badly;
but they have no obvious means of redress. Nevertheless, the dispute with
Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh remains the number one geopolitical priority for
Nothing is likely to be decided here until the next Armenian presidential
election later this year. The incumbent, Robert Kocharian, a former warlord and
president of the enclave, is a hard-liner. But then so is his successor likely
Presidential elections in the Caucasus, nevertheless, now mightily matter,
progress of a sort towards democracy – and anon perhaps the West.