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Azerbaijan disqualifies minor parties

Agostinho Neto

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Azerbaijan's election authorities have voted to ban two of the four political parties from running in May general elections. The Election Committee (EC) voted overwhelmingly to ban the ANIP (Azerbaijan National Independence Party) and the CSP (Civic Solidarity Party), accusing them of supporting ultra-nationalism. ANIP leader, Ehtibar Mammadov, said the move was anti-democratic and he would appeal against it. The ANIP make up about 10% of Azerbaijan's voters and hold 10 of 125 seats in the National Assembly of the Azerbaijani Republic. The 30-member panel voted 25-5 with to disqualify the ANIP, and voted 28-2 to disqualify Sabir Rustamxanli's CSP.

The committee is composed of representatives from Azerbaijan's political parties. The measure was proposed by the New Azerbaijan Party and its leader Heydar Aliyev, father of Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, and the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party, actually holding 80% of the National Assembly. The motion claimed the two political parties supported ultra-nationalism and "did not recognise Azerbaijan's existence as a democratic and unitary republic", a National Assembly spokesman told the DailyNews.Az news agency.

President Ilham Aliyev has until saturday to rule on the decision - the deadline for submitting the list of political parties running for may's elections. Some members of the committee walked out of the session after the vote was held, after a stormy debate about the war in Talyshstan. "This anti-democratic government want us out of the National Assembly during the election campaign," leader of the CPS, Sabir Rustamxanli, told DailyNews.Az. "They are accusing us of supporting ultra-nationalisms while they are killing our multi-party democracy," he added.


On left: ANIP's leader Ethibar Mammadov; On right: CSP's leader Sabir Rustamxanli

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