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Friday, March 1, 2024

Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev strongman buoyed by conflict victory

Mr. Aliyev was celebrated as a nationwide hero after his troops recaptured the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area in September’s one-day offensive.
| Picture Credit score: Particular Association

Azerbaijani strongman Ilham Aliyev, who will possible sail to a fifth presidential time period within the 2024 presidential election, is cementing his hardline rule after securing a historic victory over Armenian separatists.

Mr. Aliyev referred to as the elections one yr forward of schedule in December 2023, when he was driving excessive in polls for securing victory over Armenian rebels in a three-decade territorial dispute.

Mr. Aliyev was celebrated as a nationwide hero after his troops recaptured the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area in September’s one-day offensive, ending one of the vital bitter standoffs of the post-Soviet period and reclaiming territory that had sparked wars in 2020 and within the Nineteen Nineties and claimed tens of 1000’s of lives on either side.

The victory “noticed Mr. Aliyev’s approval rankings soar and assured his electoral win within the upcoming election,” mentioned political analyst Farhad Mammadov.

“Polls have proven that the occupation of 20 p.c of Azerbaijani lands was the primary situation for Azerbaijanis,” he added.

The 62-year-old took over in 2003 after the loss of life of his father Heydar Aliyev, a former Soviet KGB officer and Communist-era boss.

He then prolonged his household’s grip over the oil-rich Caspian state in elections in 2008, 2013, and 2018 that had been denounced by the embattled opposition as fraudulent.

Imitation of democracy

Supporters have praised the Mr. Aliyevs for turning the republic – as soon as regarded as a Soviet backwater – right into a flourishing power provider to Europe.

However critics argue they’ve crushed the opposition and used their energy to amass a fortune that funds a lavish life-style for the president and his household.

Opposition events have mentioned they are going to boycott the elections, accusing Mr. Aliyev of orchestrating systematic political repression.

“There are not any situations within the nation for the conduct of free and truthful elections,” mentioned Ali Kerimli, the chief of the opposition Nationwide Entrance celebration.

“Political dissent is being harshly suppressed. We’re not going to be a part of falsified elections and the imitation of democracy.”

Mr. Aliyev’s authorities has not too long ago escalated a media crackdown, arresting a number of journalists who’ve uncovered corruption among the many political elite.

He amended the structure in 2009 so he might run for limitless presidential phrases and in 2016 prolonged time period limits from 5 to seven years.

The adjustments drew criticism from Council of Europe constitutional regulation consultants as “severely upsetting the stability of powers” and giving the president “unprecedented” authority.

Unchallenged rule

Then in 2017, the president appointed his glamorous spouse Mehriban Aliyeva as first vp.

Born into the highly effective Pashayev household, Ms. Mehriban is typically seen as a attainable successor and even rival to her husband.

The subsequent technology of the Aliyev dynasty appears set to proceed the household’s main political function.

US media has reported on property value $75 million (68 million euros) in Dubai within the names of the president’s three youngsters, son Heydar, and daughters Arzu and Leyla.

They’re usually noticed at lavish red-carpet occasions overseas and are thought to regulate substantial companies pursuits of their very own.

Bolstered by billions in oil cash, Ilham has overseen years of financial progress and solid a robust navy alliance with Turkey, whereas treading fastidiously between Russia and the West.

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