Candidacies, boycotts, and declarations: Azerbaijani parties’ diverse stances ahead of presidential elections

Elections in Azerbaijan. Photo: Andy.LIU/shutterstock

As the extraordinary presidential elections in Azerbaijan loom on February 7, political parties are making decisive moves regarding their participation, signaling shifts and absences in the electoral landscape.

The Musavat Party, one of the biggest opposition parties, decided not to participate in the upcoming elections. Citing the government’s failure to address calls for a democratic pre-election environment, release of political prisoners, and ensuring fundamental freedoms, the party opted out, claiming the abruptness of the election minimized the opposition’s readiness for meaningful participation.

Following suit, after internal discussions, the Azerbaijan People’s Front Party (APPF) announced its boycott. This decision was reinforced through a vote during the VII Congress of the party, further consolidating a stance against involvement in the elections.

Contrary to these abstentions, the Great Establishment Party (BQP) signaled its intent to participate. Fazil Mustafa, the party leader, affirmed his candidacy for the presidency, marking his entry into the electoral fray. Mustafa, with a political history dating back years, has previously contested presidential elections and now seeks to join the upcoming one.

Joining the roster of candidates, Fuad Aliyev, chairman of the Independent Trade Union (ITU), declared his independent candidacy, dissociating his participation from his union role. With a political background spanning multiple parties, Fuad Aliyev adds a diverse dimension to the list of contenders.

The Great Azerbaijan Party (BAP) also confirmed its participation, nominating Elshad Musayev as its candidate. Musayev, with a history of political involvement since the 1990s, brings experience to the election arena, supported by a designated election headquarters.

Gudrat Hasanguliyev, chairman of the All-Azerbaijan People’s Front Party (BFP), made his candidacy official after a meeting of the Management Board, reinforcing his previous participation in multiple presidential elections.

Adding to the mix, Razi Nurullayev, Chairman of the National Front Party, enters the electoral landscape with a nomination for the presidential race. Having served in various capacities in prior parties and securing a mandate to the Milli Majlis in 2020, Nurullayev’s participation underscores the diversity of candidates vying for the presidency.

As expected, the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP) nominated President Ilham Aliyev as their candidate for the extraordinary presidential elections. YAP officials emphasized Aliyev’s two-decade service, stating “his candidacy reflects both the party’s choice and the will of the Azerbaijani people”.

Azerbaijan gets ready for its extraordinary presidential elections slated for February 7, 2024, following an order signed by President Ilham Aliyev on December 7. Notably, the upcoming elections continue the trend of extraordinary polls, with the last instance occurring on April 11, 2018. As President for two decades, Ilham Aliyev’s continued leadership of the country has a history of human rights violations and elections that do not adhere to international standards.

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