Primaries impossible in Azerbaijan: Opposition Leader

Politics Materials 8 February 2008 15:46 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 8 February / corr Trend S.Ilhamgizi / In the present conditions the primaries are impossible in our country, Lala Shovkat, the leader of the oppositional National Unity Movement and Liberal Party of Azerbaijan, started.

"There is no even a mechanism for carrying them out," she said.

The next presidential elections in Azerbaijan will be held in November. The ruling New Azerbaijan Party has officially nominated the candidature of current President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Participating in the elections form the opposition will be from the parties Musavat, Great Establishment, whereas the parties entering the Azadlyg blocАthe Popular Front of Azerbaijan, the Liberal Party and the Citizens Development Party insist to boycott the elections.

Elder Namazov, the President of re Public Forum for Azerbaijan, former head of the Azerbaijani President's Secretariat, told Trend that the candidates from the opposition camp should rival openly through the conduct of primaries to define the most successful candidate to the presidency.

"The claimants are committed to accept the results of primaries. They should yield to the most successful candidate and all must be prepared for the most logic choice," Namazov said.

Isa Gambar, the leader of Musavat Party said that his party is prepared to for holding primary elections among candidates from the opposition to presidency.

In the last months, we have become witnesses to the primaries and caucuses in the United States, she said.

They are carried out by both the Democrat and the Republican party among their respective supporters in all the States. They start almost one year in advance of the actual Presidential Election and are carried with the same amount of media attention, financing, debates, mass rallies, etc. These are the actual elections. Here in Azerbaijan we cannot even carry out the presidential election itself, save any kind of primaries. There are no conditions for primaries in Azerbaijan. We cannot travel to the regions and meet with the people, we cannot hold mass rallies, and we are deprived of television. There is a de-facto ban on the activity of the oppositional parties, she said.

According to Shovkat, Today the priority for us is bringing an end the war against the freedom of speech in Azerbaijan and release of the imprisoned journalists. Second priority is the restoration of our constitutional right of free assembly. Third very important matter is the exclusion of the electoral process from under the total monopoly of the authorities, creating normal competitive conditions for a free and fair election. Only after all these are solved can we speak about the single candidate issue.

The Liberal Part of Azerbaijan was established in 1996 under the leadership of Lala Shovkat. In 1993-1994 Shovkat was the State Secretary of Azerbaijan. At present she is the co-chair of the largest opposition bloc Azadlyg.