The election campaign will commence on 19 March
The deadline for submitting candidates’ registration documents for the snap presidential election in Azerbaijan expired on 12 March. Seven candidates have been approved by the Central Election Commission (CEC) for the presidential election scheduled for 11 April:
- Ilham Aliyev, the incumbent President of Azerbaijan, nominated by the ruling New Azerbaijan Party;
- Gudrat Hasanguliyev, MP, nominated by the Popular Front Party of Whole Azerbaijan (PFPWA);
- Araz Alizade, MP, nominated by the Social-Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (SDPA);
- Farij Guliyev, MP, nominated by the National Revival Movement;
- Zahid Oruj, MP, a self-nominated candidate;
- Hafiz Hajiyev, nominated by the Modern Musavat Party;
- Razi Nurullayev, nominated by the initiative group of the Azerbaijani Popular Front Party (APFP).
To be registered officially, a candidate was required to submit at least 40 000 supporting signatures from 60 electoral constituencies (there are a total of 125 constituencies across the country).
The process of collecting signatures passed by almost unnoticed. Many social media users were surprised that no one knocked on their doors requesting signatures for candidates.
“Collecting 40 000 signatures from 60 constituencies is a complicated process. As the practice shows, it could be done only with the assistance from the executive government bodies on the ground,” Radio Azadliq cited Akif Qurbanov, a lawyer and ex-member of the Central Election Commission (CEC), as saying.
A total of 15 candidates were nominated for presidency. One nominee withdrew his candidacy, while the signature lists of the other seven candidates were denied by the CEC. However, they are entitled to challenge the CEC’s decision before the start of the election campaign on 19 March, meaning that the number of candidates may still increase.
Azerbaijan’s key opposition forces – the National Front Party, the Musavat party, the National Council of Democratic Forces, the Republican Alternative (ReAl) movement, as well as some other parties have decided to boycott the upcoming snap election.