Friday Wrap-up: presidential candidate, elections fairness, and opposition figure detained

Illustration: Meydan TV

This week saw Ilham Aliyev’s nomination as candidate, denounces against snap elections and Tofiq Yagublu detained at his own house.

Ilham Aliyev will be candidate for Azerbaijan’s extraordinary presidential elections

Tahir Budagov, deputy chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party (YAP), hinted at the party’s decision regarding their candidate for the upcoming presidential elections on February 7, 2024. Budagov indicated that the YAP Management Board is finalizing the Action Plan for these elections, with an imminent announcement expected during an upcoming Board meeting.

The authority to nominate the presidential candidate was granted to the Management Board during the last congress, reinforcing expectations that President Ilham Aliyev, who has been in power since 2003 as a YAP candidate, may continue his tenure.

President Ilham Aliyev, who has held the position for two decades, signed a decree on December 7, 2023, calling for extraordinary presidential elections in Azerbaijan. The upcoming YAP Board meeting is anticipated to formalize and announce the party’s candidate.

Musavat Party challenges fairness of Azerbaijan’s early elections

The opposition party Musavat Party condemned the announcement of Azerbaijan’s extraordinary presidential elections on February 7, 2024, highlighting the historical absence of fair democratic conditions in past national polls. They criticized the lack of equal publicity for parties, voting irregularities, and perceived government influence over election commissions.

Accusing President Ilham Aliyev of minimizing opposition preparation by calling for early elections without transparency, the party expressed concerns about timing, hinting at reduced public engagement. They demanded a democratic environment, including the release of political prisoners and ensuring freedom of assembly and speech, highlighting ongoing repression in the country. Amidst this, the confirmation of Aliyev as the ruling party’s candidate raised further questions about the elections’ fairness and inclusivity.

Tofig Yagublu detained amid house search, alleged money planting

Tofig Yagublu, a member of the National Council and the Musavat Party, was reportedly detained while his house underwent a search. His daughter, Nigar Hazi, shared details on Facebook, alleging money was supposedly planted during the search by operatives. She mentioned the discovery of 5,000 euros, 2,500 manats, and some dollars.

The reasons for Yagublu’s detention have not been officially disclosed. Ibrahim Amiraslanli from the Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed Yagublu’s detention and cited an ongoing investigation by officers of the Narimanov District Police Department.

Yagublu’s history includes past arrests related to the Ismayilli events in 2013, accusations of involvement, subsequent imprisonment, and subsequent releases on different occasions, including a recent release in September after a hunger strike protest. This recent detention amid a house search raises concerns about potential implications for Yagublu and prompts questions about the circumstances surrounding his arrest.

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