Single Azerbaijani opposition member to make it into parliament criticised for accepting mandate
Erkin Gadirli, a member of the board of the opposition Republican Alternative Party (REAL), has become the target of criticism after being the only opposition member to enter parliament. Many believe that Gadirli should abandon the mandate as the elections were unfair, but he says he will not step down.
Snap parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan were held on February 9. Most of the seats in parliament again went to the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP).
According to independent local observers and international organizations such as PACE and the OSCE, the elections were undemocratic, with a number of gross violations and falsifications.
•Win for ruling party, falsifications, disappointment – results of parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan
Many opposition activists, independent candidates and social media users believe that in such circumstances, Erkin Gadirli’s acceptance of his victory is a kind of deal with the government and even a betrayal of the rest of the opposition and its supporters.
Some people even think that the Gadirli’s victory was somehow forged by the authorities themselves.
Comments from social media:
“The authorities need Erkin. Therefore, he was allowed to enter parliament”
“He should not go to parliament for the simple reason that this is a handout of the authorities”
“By accepting a mandate at such a price, both Gadirli and REAL demonstrated who they really are. They showed that they do not care about the people, that they care only about the authorities.”
But there are those who stand up for Gadirli and consider these accusations stupid:
“Those who demand from Erkin Gadirli to refuse the mandate behave illogically. After all, they allegedly have long been striving for an active opposition to be represented in parliament. And now, when at least one opposition member becomes an MP, for some reason they are unhappy with this.”
“This is my honest victory”
Since the REAL party is unregistered, Erkin Gadirli ran as an independent candidate.
“I will not give up the MP mandate. This is my honest victory,” he said at a recent press conference.
Gadirli says the elections in his constituency took place almost without violations. At the same time, Gadirli says that both he and the other candidates were credited with more votes than they actually received.
He explains this by the fact that the election commission tried to create the appearance that more people came to the polls than they actually did.
Gadirli also added that he was ready to mediate between his voters and the authorities and work for his supporters.