President Aliyev’s snap election in Azerbaijan locks in his legitimacy and normalizes his prerogative
As Azerbaijan faces transitions in its relations with Armenia and its energy portfolio, this week’s poll secures the leadership into the next decade.
On 7 February Azerbaijan will go to the polls in a snap presidential election called by President Ilham Aliyev in December.
President since 2003, Aliyev is seeking re-election for a fifth term of seven years (the length of presidential terms introduced by referendum in 2016) to 2031, when he will turn 70. A previous referendum in 2009 abolished the limit to the number of terms a president can serve.
The election campaign has yielded no surprises in a political system which scholars have defined as a hegemonic variant of authoritarianism. The campaign has featured a performative pluralism, in which multiple candidates – generally figures not well known to the public – participate, but are united in their praise of the incumbent, who does not himself campaign.
Azerbaijan’s opposition parties meanwhile have boycotted the election – as they have done for a decade. Unlike Azerbaijan’s last presidential election in 2018, there have been no rallies.
Yet there has been the customary silencing of critics. A dozen journalists known for their investigative work on corruption were targeted in a wave of arrests on charges of smuggling cash, extortion and petty hooliganism.
Click here to continue reading the full version of this Expert Comment on the Chatham House website.
Latest News from
The second failed Trident test: Time to scrap or expand Britain’s nuclear capabilities?27/02/2024 15:10:00
The potential nuclear threats posed by Russia and China are complicated by the possibility of a second Trump presidency.
The AU took important action on cybersecurity at its 2024 summit – but more is needed27/02/2024 09:20:00
Leading African Union member states continue to delay ratification of the Malabo convention, limiting harmonized African policymaking on cybersecurity.
China’s ‘renminbi trap’: The economy needs a weaker currency, but Beijing is unable to act23/02/2024 15:10:00
Weakening the currency should be relatively straightforward. But the adverse reaction of China’s trading partners, past experience, and Xi Jinping’s ambitions for the renminbi could combine to prevent it.
Has Pakistan’s new coalition government been handed a poisoned chalice?23/02/2024 12:20:00
Simmering tension between the two coalition partners threatens to hobble the capacity of the new government to tackle the multiple crises facing Pakistan.
Ukraine means enlargement is again the EU’s priority – but not for the reasons it claims20/02/2024 14:10:00
The European Union is using an old tool for a new purpose as it looks to its defence.
Alexei Navalny’s most powerful legacy is urging Russians to imagine their country without Putin19/02/2024 14:10:00
Much like his life’s work, Navalny’s death shows the corrupt brutality of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
‘Continuity’ Prabowo means change for Indonesia16/02/2024 12:20:00
Prabowo Subianto used the endorsement of the popular outgoing president to win power - but is unlikely to govern as Jokowi’s ‘proxy’.
As Trump threatens NATO, is it time for Europe to get its act together?14/02/2024 10:10:10
Donald Trump’s threats to NATO allies must unite European leaders in the defence of Europe.