Azerbaijanis will go the polls on Oct. 9 in an atmosphere marked by a general sense of fear combined with deep apathy. Although there were signs of discontent earlier this year with a riot in a provincial town – as well as occasional unsanctioned opposition rallies in the capital Baku – these expressions of discontent with corruption and power abuse as well as grievances over rising material inequalities did not develop into a sustained popular mobilization movement. Most experts predict that the outcome of the upcoming vote is predetermined in favor of the incumbent president, Illham Aliyev, who has been in office for 10 years already. If elected, this will be his third term – a term made possible through a controversial 2009 constitutional amendment. What makes President Aliyev’s reelection an almost foregone conclusion is a reflection of the resources held by the current regime, the uncompetitive nature of the electoral process, and repression and intimidation used against regime critics.Full Article: The Challenges of Electoral Competition in an Oil Rich State: Azerbaijani Pre-Election Report.
Oct 7 2013