The opposition is demanding electoral reform ‘in exchange’ for its participation
The National Council of Democratic Forces, an opposition bloc in Azerbaijan, has demanded electoral reform in the country in the run up to snap elections, which it otherwise says it will boycott.
Other opposition leaders and experts, for the most part, consider this a senseless act and a recognition of their powerlessness.
The National Council of Democratic Forces is an association that includes representatives of large opposition parties in Azerbaijan.
Given their refusal to participate, only the opposition Republican Alternative party, which has already announced its readiness, will participate in parliamentary elections.
Why early elections are being held in Azerbaijan
On November 28, 2019, the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP) proposed dissolving the parliament because it ‘does not comply with the president’s policies and the reforms he is pursuing.’
Moreover, most of the seats in parliament belong to the ruling party itself.
On December 2, the MPs discussed this issue and asked the president to dissolve the parliament and hold early elections.
National Council’s terms
On December 1 the National Council of Democratic Forces stated that the early parliamentary elections “are not intended to carry out democratic reforms, but to further concentrate power in the hands of one family [ed. Aliyev’s family]”
According to the council, holding ‘real’ elections is currently impossible in the country, and therefore it makes no sense to participate in them.
Therefore, they put forward conditions to the authorities that, in their opinion, would ensure transparency and democratic elections.
• reform election commissions with the participation of the authorities, the opposition and representatives of candidates;
• remove artificial barriers to candidate registration;
• create equal opportunities for campaigning for all candidates;
• ensure freedom of assembly in Baku and the regions;
• give observers the opportunity to control the vote count, give them copies of protocols from polling stations;
• improve and ensure transparency in the grievance process;
• release political prisoners.
“This cannot be called anything other than the ‘recognition of one’s political impotence’. Instead of leaving the game, it would be better to participate in the elections and record violations,” said Shahin Rzayev, a political commentator at JAMnews.
“One must take part in the elections, not paying attention to this anti-election campaign,” says historian Altay Goyushov.
The famous journalist Khadija Ismailova is less categorical:
“Both the boycott of the elections and participation in them will have no effect if both of them are done. That is, a boycott will have an effect only if the whole opposition joins it.”