A certain intrigue has appeared ahead of the presidential elections in Azerbaijan. A major part of the Azeri opposition, which includes the key opposition parties Musavat and People’s Front, overcame their traditional differences and united into the National Council of Democratic Forces. Moreover, the new entity managed to present a united candidate, despite the pessimistic predictions of analysts. The candidate is screenwriter and film director Rustam Ibragimbekov, who turned from a silent supporter of the current authorities into their radical opponent. The Azerbaijani opposition needed a neutral figure they could unite behind. At the same time, neither Ali Kerimli (People’s Front) nor Isa Gambar (Musavat) nor Eldar Namazov (EL Movement) who deal with politics for decades would bet on a powerful leader with his own political weight and electorate. From this point of view, a respected artist, but inexperienced politician Rustam Ibragimbekov was perfect for the role of the common candidate.
However, the political inexperience of the opposition candidate can also have drawbacks. It was confirmed by a recent interview given by Ibragmibekov to the Azerbaijani office of Radio Svoboda. Ibragimbekov promised to “shut the months” of journalists who he said write unfairly.
Meanwhile, Inbragimbekov may have problems with registration in the Central Election Committee. The screenwriter is not only an Azerbaijani citizen, but also a citizen of Russia. Even though Iragimbekov has already requested rejection of his Russian citizenship to take part in the Azerbaijani elections, the procedure will take a half of a year. This may be too long.
According to the Azerbaijani law, a presidential candidate should not have commitments to other states. Therefore, the Azerbaijani state has reasons for rejecting Ibragimbekov’s registration. Considering the circumstance, Musavat decided not to withdraw its leader Isa Gambar till registration of Ibragimbekov in the Central Election Committee. If Ibragimbekov fails to be a candidate, Gambar will have a right to become its successor in the position of a common candidate. It is not acceptable for People’s Front headed by Ali Kerimli and the Liberals headed by Lala Shovket: their relations with Musavat’s leader leave much to be desired.
Full Article: Pre-election situation in Azerbaijan | Vestnik Kavkaza.