Musavat’s Boycotting Elections will Lead to Very Bad Consequences: Azerbaijani Opposition Party’s Activist
Azerbaijan, Baku, 25 July / Trend corr. E.Babayev/ Leading activist of Azerbaijan's opposition Musavat party said should the party reject participation in the elections, it will face losses. "Should Musavat and Azadlig bloc yield under the pretext of boycott, that will lead the party to very bad consequences," Musavat activist Rauf Arifoglu said to Trend on 25 July.
Azerbaijan will hold presidential elections on 15 October, 2008. In December, 2007, Musavat decided to participate in the elections, nominating its chairman Isa Gambar. After passing of supplements and changes in the Election Code on 2 June, Musavat put participation in elections for discussion at its regional offices. The discussions are nearing completion and on 2 August a final decision will be made.
Bloc Azadlig uniting three opposition parties (Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan, Citizen and Development Party, Liberal Party) intends to boycott the elections.
Arifoglu said non-participation in the election campaign will lead Musavat to sad consequences. "I cannot foretell the results. Musavat should participate in the elections. There are all grounds to boycot the elections, but due to the very grounds we must participate. Election campaign is intended not only to achieve a victory in the elections. Opportunites of the campaign must be used. We must prepare for the post-election period, concentrate our forces. The situation inside opposition is so uncoordinated at the moment. If some force go forward a little, the entire team may unite around it. In order to make use of the situation, Musavat must decide to participate in the elections. Non-participation in the elections will harm the party, Azerbaijan and democracy," said Arifoglu, adding that Musavat may carry out a succesfu election campaign, relying on discontented part of the population. According to him, during recent elections in Armenia and Georgia, opposition's participation made it stronger. "We also have pre-requisites for this process. Azerbaijani opposition may hold a normal campaign. Even if the opposition fails to win the elections, anyway it can become a significant force in the period after elections till parliamentary elections," he said.
According to Arifoglu, there are some uncertainties about elections inside the opposition. "Only Azadlig bloc defintely decided not to participate in the elections and is blackmailing those who are going to. They accuse those propaganding participation in the elections of betrayal of their country. As to other parties, they doubt whether to participate or not. It is the first time the country is experiencing such a stalemate in the year of elections," Arifoglu said, adding that the opposition, taking into account the losses in terms of democracy, must unite. "Unification of main parties before the elections and a uinified statement may change the social and political atmosphere. A unified candidate may be nominated," he said.
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