Azerbaijan, Baku, 16 September / Trend corr. J.Babayeva / The Deputy Chairman and Executive Secretary of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) Ali Ahmadov's interview with Trend
Question: What new political methods does the ruling New Azerbaijan Party intend to use during election campaign?
Answer: There are several ways to gain success during the elections. Introduction of new political and election methods play an important role. So far, the NAP has sought to use different political technologies tested in international experience successfully during all elections. We, as the NAP, intend to apply some new technologies to hold the elections campaign successfully and to make it more interesting. Our main objective in this regard is to appeal to all Azerbaijani voters during the election campaign. We will try so that our election campaign, which will be held to support Ilham Aliyev's candidacy, will cover most of the Azerbaijani people and majority of citizens will hear our words directed to them and will strengthen their positions by appreciating our words. I think you will witness all of them during the elections process. The propaganda campaign will start in several days. You can observe new technologies, which we will apply at different places systematically on 17 September.
Question: Which slogan the NAP will use during the election campaign?
Answer: Generally, the key slogan of the last five years has been Azerbaijan's rapid development under Ilham Aliyev's leadership. When we observe this period, we come to the conclusion that Azerbaijan's economy has developed quickly; great steps have been taken to improve people's welfare; serious measures have been realized to improve life standards; large infrastructure projects have been carried out; not only appearance of Baku, but also that of all regions have significantly changed and unemployment problem has been significantly reduced. More than 600,000 jobs have been created in accordance with the program announced by President Ilham Aliyev in 2003. We present the slogan of "Forward with Ilham!" to our voters, obviously expressing the President's will to continue this tendency during next five years. "Forward with Ilham!" means great development of Azerbaijan's economy, major steps to improve people's welfare, development of social and spiritual life, upgrade of the country's appearance, further modernization of Azerbaijan and more achievements in the field of foreign policy. We want to introduce voters the platform of Ilham Aliyev, which calls for further development of Azerbaijan for the next five years.
Question: Do the venues allotted by the Baku City Administration for mass demonstrations are suitable and will you stage mass demonstrations at these venues during election campaign?
Answer: Generally, the matter of venues to hold mass demonstrations is much politicized in Azerbaijan. Terry Davis, the Council of Europe Secretary General clarified this issue in the light of the European mentality 15 or 20 days ago. There is no any need to politicize the issue of allotting venues to conduct mass demonstrations. If supporters of parties, which intend to hold mass actions, really want and intend to participate in the actions, location of the venue will not be important for them. If a party wants to create impression of mammoth demonstration, holding it at a place, where people always assemble in ordinary days, this will be completely different approach to the issue of mass actions. Naturally, it is not unbiased and fair approach and at the same time it is an attempt to deceive the people. It is impossible to think that parties, which intend to hold demonstrations at places, where people assemble every day without any reason, have another objective. The NAP thinks in this regard that if any political party wants to assemble its supporters and to talk with them about their policy, location of a place for mass demonstrations is not important. I want to mention that there were people coming from different regions of Azerbaijan amongst participants of the demonstrations which the opposition held in 2003 and 2005. However, at present some parties refuse to hold demonstrations by making excuses about locations of these places. At that time, people could cover a long distance from regions located in 200km-300km of Baku to take part in these demonstrations. However, when the Baku City Administration allocated places for mass actions only 3km away from centre of Baku, parties refused to hold mass actions making excuses about its long distance. By doing so, they intend to create an imagination for the different international organizations that as if the Baku City Administration does not create favorable conditions for opposition to hold political and mass actions in Azerbaijan.
Question: How the ruling party is going to use the free air time allotted for presidential candidates?
Answer: The ruling party will not have any problems in using free air time. The party has a potential good enough to achieve success in the canvassing and tele-debates. The ruling New Azerbaijan Party has a lot to say to the supporters of Ilham Aliyev's nomination. At the same time, we have a lot to say about the contributions that President Ilham Aliyev can make to the development of Azerbaijan for the next five years.
Question: How do you assess the pre-election situation in Azerbaijan? There are rumors about inactive pre-elections situation.
Answer: There is political environment constructive enough prior to elections in Azerbaijan. This political environment is indicated by the preparedness of political parties and candidates for elections. On one hand, Azerbaijani citizens secure constructive political environment by their positions. The opinion polls conducted in Azerbaijan indicate that people will be active in the presidential elections. The opinion polls also indicate that Ilham Aliyev has the highest rating. The Azerbaijani citizens have already made their decision. Therefore, it is unfair to disseminate lies and slander about pre-election situation. On the other hand, it is wrong to condemn people for just determining their positions. The people have decided to support Ilham Aliyev in presidential elections long ago and it is disrespect to condemn population for their choice. It is not fair and honest to tell a lie and slander about the political environment in Azerbaijan. To condemn the people for the opinion does not make any sense. It is nonsense to condemn people for their love for Ilham Aliyev and to describe it as inactiveness in a period prior to elections. The pre-election situation in Azerbaijan is constructive, active and favorable.
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