The chairman of the council has left the party, accusing its leader Ilgar Mammadov of authoritarianism " />

Conflict in opposition REAL party in spotlight of media, social networks in Azerbaijan

The chairman of the council has left the party, accusing its leader Ilgar Mammadov of authoritarianism

Azer Qasimli, chairman of the council of the opposition Republican Alternative Party, resigned from the party due to disagreements with its leader Ilgar Mammadov.

Qasimli accused Mammadov of an authoritarian leadership style, Turan reports.

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This is the first time this is happening with this party.  Therefore, the incident is being actively discussed in the media and social networks.

What is REAL and who is Ilgar Mammadov?

Republican Alternative (REAL) – Azerbaijani unregistered opposition political party.  It grew out of a movement with the same name, founded in 2009 by a group of young opposition politicians.

Movement leader Ilgar Mammadov was about to run for president in 2013, but was arrested and sentenced to prison on charges of organizing unrest.  International human rights organizations recognized him as a prisoner of conscience and demanded his release for several years. Ilgar Mammadov was released on probation in August 2018.

 The REAL party is going to participate in the parliamentary elections in 2020.

What is Qasimli unhappy about?

A few days ago, Ilgar Mammadov proposed reforming the structure of the party.  Namely, to abolish the board, the council and the control and audit commission, having established instead of them a single structure, conditionally called the Political Committee.

 Azer Qasimli did not like this idea.  He stated that this was a blow to the collective decision-making order and left the party.

 “No one can check the work of the board.  Lack of advice means the absence of a structure that will call the board to account and demand a report from it,” he explained his decision.

Azer Qasimli (

 Until now, REAL has created the impression of a very united party.  If there were conflicts inside it, neither journalists nor the public knew about this.

What is happening now is REAL’s first disagreement, made public.


Many party members responded to Qasimli’s act negatively.  But there are those who supported him and even left the party after him.

 Ilgar Mammadov himself has not yet commented on what happened.

 Party Executive Secretary Natiq Jafarli is completely on the side of the leader:

 “REAL has never been and cannot be a party of one.  Every morning Ilgar Mammadov arrives at the office ahead of time and makes tea, ordinary party members can come to him at any time and express all their complaints and suggestions.  It is completely inappropriate to accuse such a person of authoritarianism. REAL is an organization of leaders who have always been able to leave aside personal insults and ambitions. So it is and it will be so!”

Party Chairman Erkin Qadirli spoke more vaguely:

“Azer Qasimli didn’t lose anything, having left REAL.  But for REAL, this is a heavy loss. That was not supposed to happen.  REAL should not have been faced with a choice: to remain in place without losing anything, or to go forward with losses.  Azer left, putting the party before such a choice. He moved too quick. REAL lost Azer, but he did not lose himself. And our friendship also did not go anywhere.  Good deeds are slow [to carry through]. We have nowhere to hurry.”

 REAL Secretary for Human Resources Togrul Ismailov was among those who left the party.

“One way or another, I will not lose my moral attachment to REAL.  But I do not agree with the new rules of the game,” he says.

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