Azerbaijan, Baku, 2 August / Trend , corr E.Babayev/ Interview of the Deputy Chairman and Executive Secretary of the governing New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) Ali Ahmadov for Trend :
Question: What is your view of the atmosphere of today's convention of the governing party?
Answer: Today's convention had only one issue of discussion and one purpose - to determine and nominate the candidate of the governing party for the presidential elections to take place in the country on 15 October 2008. NAP members held conferences in country's regions, which determined party's candidate. In fact, the decision emerged from the mood of the Azerbaijani community, since the pre-election mood of the Azerbaijani community displays that the majority of the population support candidature of President Ilham Aliyev. In order to conform to the mood of the Azerbaijani community, and at the same time meeting the wish of the community, NAP discussed at its 4th convention the official nomination of Ilham Aliyev. The convention was held at high level and decided to nominate Ilham Aliyev on the basis of unanimous agreement of all representatives. In accordance with the decision we will apply to the Central Election Commission to get party's candidate registered. All people who spoke at the convention unanimously stated that nomination of Ilham Aliyev reflects the will of a considerable majority of the Azerbaijani community. On the other side, over 450,000 members of the NAP will do their utmost to conduct democratic elections in conformity with law. Our candidate will gain high number of votes
Question: Did NAP Chairman, President Ilham Aliyev made any instructions regarding the elections?
Answer: The key direction in the speech of Ilham Aliyev at the convention was dedicated to analysis of the success achieved in the policy which has been pursued in Azerbaijan in recent years and to consideration of the plans which Ilham Aliyev intends to realize during his next office. Given the ideas for next five years, which were voiced by Ilham Aliyev in his speech, I can say the success which Azerbaijan has achieved in recent five years provided a solid basis for more success in further five years. In recent five years, Azerbaijan has passed a great development stage. The country achieved great success in the field of economy, policy and social life. The basis strengthens the belief that under the leadership of Ilham Aliyev the country will achieve even more success in next five-year period. I hope Azerbaijani people will again support Ilham Aliyev at the next presidential elections and thus will again present the mandate to the President to make the country go forward within next five years on the basis of higher development dynamics rather than present. This decision will correspond with the national interests of Azerbaijani people and the interests of every citizen individually.
Question: Rumours had it, certain staff changes would be made at the convention, as well as there is discontent inside the party. Since media was not invited to the meeting, we would like you to comment on discontent at the convention.
Answer: The rumours were disseminated by opposition media. Opposition mainly writes false reports. The NAP convention did not discuss any other issue except for nomination of Ilham Aliyev and we even had not intended to. The opposition media reports do not have any ground. They wanted to create some discontent at the NAP by their articles. The NAP convention took place at a high level. Over 600 representatives unanimously backed Ilham Aliyev as a candidate. The will of all members of the party was reflected at the convention. Those who took floor at the meeting said they are ready to do any self-sacrifice to provide the victory of Ilham Aliyev. Like our all conventions, this one also took place in the solidarity and activity conditions.
Question: The opposition and several foreign politicians have certain doubts regarding democratic elections. The U.S. Helsinki Commission has recently voiced the same view. The Commission hoped the shortcomings would be removed within three months. Are there any grounds to doubt about results of the elections?
Question: In every country, including Azerbaijan, it would be better if citizens voiced their views about elections. Certainly, Azerbaijan is a member of international community and the views of different international organizations and states regarding Azerbaijan are of great importance for us. We are not indifferent about them. But at the same time, our position is that the view of the people must be the key factor to determine the future of the country. Such crucial issues as election of a President must conform to the will of the Azerbaijani people. I would not like any person in Azerbaijan to try to create amongst foreign organizations and political scientists a negative view about social and political processes in Azerbaijan. The wish to act in compliance with the interests of Azerbaijani people must lay in the basis of every politician's behaviour. NAP unanimously realizes that and our political history is a proof. All conditions enabling transparent and just elections have been provided in Azerbaijan. As a result, Azerbaijani people may openly express its will. Support to Ilham Aliyev must be considered to be an example of Azerbaijani people's free expression of its will. Therefore, there is no serious ground for foreign politicians' critical statements regarding presidential elections in Azerbaijan.
Question: Unlike prior elections, traditional opposition persons decided not to participate in presidential elections. The opposition says the pre-election situation and the Election Code are not democratic. Rumours have it, non-participation of opposition's main persons in the elections will create a view of non-alternative elections. What is governing party's appraisal to the situation and to opposition's position?
Answer: The notion 'elections' and 'traditional persons' are antagonistic to each other. All elections are based on the same logic - those who lost elections must, to put it mildly, make serious corrections in their policy. To say it openly, those who lost elections usually do not participate in next elections, other candidates represent their party. But the reality in Azerbaijan is strange - the people, who many times lost elections, several times attempt and every time fail. The strange reality is that the people, who several times participated in the elections and bored the electorate with their vainness, decide not to participate in the elections, excusing by undemocratic pre-election atmosphere. Non-participation in the elections does not provide a ground to say the pre-election atmosphere is undemocratic in Azerbaijan. Let those people take into account people's attitude towards them and analyze their pre-election platforms and chances. Do the people want to support them? Will the people vote for them, should they participate? If the people do not support them, how is that linked with the pre-election situation? Why do they want to shade their vainness in the election situation? That is disrespect of political parties' several representatives to the will of the Azerbaijani people. Several oppositionists openly feel should they join the elections, they will not be backed.
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