Azeri opposition prepares for protests

Joint rallies as a sign of resistance against government rigged elections

People hold election posters of Jamil Hasanly, a presidential candidate from the united opposition, during the final election rally in Baku October 5, 2013. Azerbaijan holds a presidential election on Wednesday that looks certain to give the President Ilham Aliyev another five years in power, extending his family’s rule in the oil-producing state. REUETRS/Elmar Mustafazadeh (AZERBAIJAN – Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) – GM1E9A6018V01

The chairman of the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF), Jamil Hasanli, took to Facebook to urge the Musavat party and the Republican Alternative (REAL) movement to protest against the snap presidential elections on April 11.

Both the Musavat party and REAL had previously announced that they would boycott the elections and not recognize its outcome. Hasanli welcomed this decision and encouraged them to support rallies organized by NCDF to “show resistance against government rigged elections.”

NCDF and other parties boycotting the elections criticize the lack of an appropriate democratic framework that allows to hold proper election campaigns, the increasing crackdown on independent media, as well as the high number of political prisoners in the country. A

recently published list

of political prisoners in Azerbaijan counts more than 160 people.

Hasanli argued that joint protests of political forces and social movements beginning in March would be an important step to oppose the government’s fake elections.

Gulaga Asanli, head of the executive department of the Musavat party, supports the idea of holding joint rallies. REAL movement executive secretary Natig Jafarli said they would decide after discussing this matter in a board meeting.

NCDF was established in July 2013. It is chaired by Jamil Hasanli, former member of parliament and NCDF candidate in the 2013 presidential elections. With 5,53% of votes, he came second after incumbent president Ilham Aliyev (84,54%).

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