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IT TURNED OUT AS USUAL

Vahram ATANESYAN

 On February 9, snap parliamentary elections were held in Azerbaijan. It was preceded by the PACE report on political prisoners, which presented to President Ilham Aliyev a number of clear demands to respect democracy, human rights and freedoms. Official Baku has countered that it does not accept any urges from the Council of Europe and will do nothing.

European institutions did not send observers to the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. In fact, this means that they consider the Azerbaijani elections a formal event, the results of which are predetermined. Earlier, some expert circles, including the Armenian one, were of the opinion that early parliamentary elections were organized within the framework of the project of transferring power to Mehriban Aliyeva and considered it possible to sponsor new, young forces. There were such tendencies, but shortly after the announcement of the election, the former head of Ilham Aliyev's administration, Ramiz Mehtiyev, appointed president of the Academy of Sciences, disseminated an extensive article through the state-run “Azertaj” agency, the headline of which was already too talkative: "From president father to president son." It was announced in the open text that Ilham Aliyev inherited power from his father and should pass it on to his son, Heydar Aliyev. Simultaneously, the name of the first Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva disappeared from the Azerbaijani news outlet. It became clear that the parliamentary elections would bring no news, the ruling party would retain the majority, and some of the opposition will also pass in parliament for the impression. Preliminary voting results confirm that impression. Candidates for the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan party have won in 65 of the 125 constituencies. According to preliminary information, it is only in one constituency that a real opposition candidate can be declared the winner.
He is the representative of the ReAl movement, Ilkin Kadirli. Experts considered that movement to be Mehriban Aliyeva's future political pillar. As we can see, Ilham Aliyev has severely put an end to Mehriban Aliyeva's political ambitions. The radical opposition had boycotted the elections, had nominated candidates. Preliminary results, however, have also lost all of his candidates. Thus, the illusions of expert circles on political generation change in Azerbaijan came to light. Ilham Aliyev is going not for political renewal, but another plan to extend his own power for another decade. If we look at the phenomenon in depth, we will have to admit that he must have strong external support to make this project a reality. Today's situation is such that Western countries are not interested in weakening Aliyev's power, as they are well aware that its only alternative to Azerbaijan is the Islamic revolution. Iran is constrained by international isolation and cannot open. Russia is also fully satisfied with Ilham Aliyev, as he does not lead Azerbaijan to the West. So far this is the political layout, this gives Ilham Aliyev great opportunities to maneuver and extend his power. Today he has no serious political rival in Azerbaijan. The only threat may be the palace coup if Ilham Aliyev fails to reach an agreement with Mehriban Aliyeva's paternal family on the distribution of the country's wealth. According to some information, it is the Pashayevs' family that has generated in the press the subject of the Azerbaijani "revolution from above". There is a high probability that reconciliation will take place, Pashaev will own another mega-business. The representatives of the Nakhichevan clan will also feel completely satisfied. In this situation, there can be no serious expectations from Azerbaijan and no force center. Only the President of Turkey congratulated Ilham Aliyev on the parliamentary elections. It becomes obvious that someone wanted to do something new in Azerbaijan, but it turned out as usual.