Azerbaijani opposition members ends hunger strike per request of party leader
Opposition party members Musavat Elman Guliyev and Elshad Israfil have ended their hunger strike against fraud in the parliamentary elections. This was requested by the party’s board, after, together with other opposition members, formed a coalition against fraud.
Elman Guliyev started his hunger strike on February 27, and Elshad Israfil joined him on February 28. They were both candidates for the early parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan, which were held on February 9. The ruling New Azerbaijan Party has once again won the elections. Most independent local observers and international organizations say that the elections were undemocratic and violated many laws. Independent candidates and opposition party members held several protests demanding that they rescind the results of the election, but the demonstrations were all broken up by the police.
Elman Guliyev called his hunger strike “a last desperate attempt” to achieve justice. But when his condition worsened on the fifth day, the Musavat board decided that they had already drawn public attention to the problem, and that the young men should not risk their lives.
“The hunger strike of Elman and Elshad seems to have given impetus to other deputy candidates to consolidate their struggle against electoral fraud,” reports Mustafa Hajibayli, head of the Musavat press service, to the site Caucasian Knot.
He says that more than 70 opposition members from various parties, as well as independent candidates, banded together to create a coalition against electoral fraud.