Novruz Mammadov becomes the new Prime Minister of Azerbaijan
On 21 April, the Milli Majlis (parliament) of Azerbaijan unanimously approved the candidacy of Novruz Mammadov for the post of a prime minister. The 83-year-old Artur Rasizade, who had held this post since 1996 has been dismissed with honors.
“Up to this day I liked to talk more. Apparently, from now on I will have to work, ” said Mammadov in his speech in the Parliament right after his appointment.
Novruz Mammadov is 12 years younger than his predecessor. Previously, he has led the Department of International Politics in the office of the President. Mamedov is a professor of philology, specialising in French. He has worked in diplomatic missions in Algeria and Guinea. He was a personal translator (from French) of the former President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev. Mammadov is also one of the most active Twitter users among Azerbaijani officials.
Mammadov’s appointment has caused a generally favorable reaction in the social networks of Azerbaijan, and is described as ‘harmless’, ‘honest’ and ‘good-minded’.
The Executive Secretary of the Republican Alternative (REAL) opposition party, Natig Jafarli, has called Novruz Mamedov ‘a candidate of compromise’:
“It’s no secret that there is fierce competition among the ruling elite. If we accept the presence of two main groups within the government, the appointment of Novruz – muallim (Az. ‘teacher’ or ‘mentor’ – a respectful title added to a name when addressing someone or speaking of a person) can be called a ‘compromise which satisfies all sides’.”
Jafarli added that the Cabinet of Ministers already had very little power, and with the establishment of the post of the vice-president they have become even smaller. “Therefore it is not impossible that in the future this institution (the Cabinet of Ministers) may be completely liquidated,” he said.
The presidential snap elections in Azerbaijan were held on 11 April 2018. According to official data, president Ilham Aliyev won by receiving more than 86% of the votes.
Thus, Aliyev-junior has become the President of Azerbaijan for the fourth time, although the opposition had boycotted the elections. International observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) in Europe have criticized the election process, saying that: “The snap presidential elections in Azerbaijan had been held in an atmosphere wherein the fundamental rights and freedoms that are essential for a truly democratic election campaign were restricted.”