Azerbaijani opposition demands gov’t make mayorship an elected position
Azerbaijani opposition party Republican Alternative (ReAL) has put forward several demands to the government, including making the position of Baku mayor an elected position. They further demanded that the government deal with the manat’s devaluation and cover the economic damage that citizens with dollar-denominated loans have suffered as a consequence.
According to the Azerbaijani constitution, the party must collect 40 thousand signatures before the bill can be proposed to parliament.
The position of Baku mayor is not filled via an election, but is instead appointed by presidential decree. Azerbaijan has long told the Council of Europe that it would make the mayorship an elected position, but so far nothing has come of these promises.
This post was, until recently, held by Hajibala Abutalybov. In April 2018 he was appointed as deputy prime minister, leaving the position of mayor vacant.
The manat has devaluated twice over the past three years in Azerbaijan. The US dollar has increased 2.5 times against the manat, and prices in the country have sky-rocketed. Those that had dollar-denominated loans from banks have suffered the most from the crisis.
“About 700 thousand people in Azerbaijan now have loans [that are] impossible [to repay] after the devaluations. The solution to the problem will serve as an impetus for the revival of both the banking sector and the economy as a whole. We proposed a bill according to which such loans should be repaid at the expense of the state,” says ReAL board member Natiq Jafarli.