Thursday, November 15, 2007

Politics in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan declared its independence from the former Soviet Union on August 30, 1991.

Ayaz Mutalibov, former First Secretary of the Azerbaijani Communist Party became the country's first President.

After a massacre of Azerbaijanis at Khojali in Nagorno‑Karabakh in March 1992, Mutalibov resigned and the country experienced a period of political instability.
Mutalibov returned to power in May 1992, but less than a week later his efforts to suspend scheduled presidential elections and ban all political activity prompted the opposition Popular Front Party (PFP) to organize a resistance movement and take power.

Among its reforms, the PFP dissolved the predominantly Communist Supreme Soviet and transferred its functions to the 50-member upper house of the legislature, the National Council.
Elections in June 1992 resulted in the election of PFP leader Abulfaz Elcibay as the country's second president.

The PFP-dominated government, however, proved unable to resolved the ongoing conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh or managing the struggling Azerbaijani economy.
As a result, many PFP officials came to be perceived as corrupt and incompetent.

Growing discontent culminated in June 1993 in an armed insurrection in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second-largest city; rebels marched on the capital, Baku. President Elcibey fled to his native province of Nakhchivan, and died there in 2000.
The National Council conferred presidential powers upon its new Speaker, Heydar Aliyev, former First Secretary of the Azerbaijani Communist Party (1969-81) and later a member of the U.S.S.R. Politburo, the KGB, and USSR Deputy Prime Minister.

Azerbaijan's first Parliament was elected in 1995. The present 125-member unicameral Parliament was elected in November 2000. A majority of parliamentarians are from the President's "New Azerbaijan Party."

Aliyev was elected to a 5-year term as President in October with only token opposition. Aliyev won re-election to another 5-year term in 1998, in an election marred by serious irregularities. Azerbaijan has a strong presidential system in which the legislative and judicial branches have only limited independence. The Speaker of Parliament stood next in line to the President, but the constitution was changed at the end of 2002: now the premier is next in line.

In August, 2003, Ilham Aliyev, Heydar's son, was appointed as premier, though Artur Rasizade, who had been prime minister since 1996, continued to fulfill the duties of that office so that Aliyev could concentrate on his presidential election bid. In the October 2003 presidential elections, Aliyev was announced winner sworn in as president at the end of the month, and Rasizade became premier again.

1 comment:

Pete said...


You've described well Azerbaijan's development from its Russian dominated past. I'm particularly interested in US initiatives to use Azerbaijan as a pre-war post to pressure Iranian ethnic minorities directly to the south.

The US is also developing military bases in Azerbaijan - theoretically for the current war in Afghanistan but better suited for support basing for airstrikes against Iran. looks interesting.

Naturally all this is way outside the view of the MSM but a building block in the next US/Israeli push into the Middle East.