Is the public ready for early presidential elections?

Baku/11.12.23/Turan: In a recent episode of the program "Difficult Question," Azer Gasimli, the head of the Institute of Political Management, shared his insights on the political landscape in Azerbaijan, shedding light on the complexities surrounding the government's decision to hold early presidential elections.

According to Gasimli, Azerbaijan is in urgent need of elections, be they presidential, parliamentary, or municipal. However, he emphasizes that the key requirement is that these elections should be genuinely democratic, fair, and transparent – a standard he believes previous elections in the country have failed to meet. Even the inaugural national presidential elections, which saw Abulfaz Elchibey elected president, did not meet the criteria of full democratic and transparent processes due to the absence of established democratic institutions at the time.

Gasimli expressed concern over the lack of official communication from the government justifying the decision to move up the date of the presidential elections. While officials and political figures linked the decision to geopolitical factors and the ongoing Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict, Gasimli finds this explanation inadequate.

"If there were military threats, appropriate orders should have been given to the army. If there were foreign propaganda against our country, some actions should have been taken in foreign policy. But what threats are they responding to by holding elections? It's a mystery to me," remarked Gasimli.

The political expert suggested that the perceived threat may be related to the presence of the Russian military contingent in Azerbaijan. However, he highlighted another potential concern for the Azerbaijani authorities – strained relations with the United States and the West.

Gasimli pointed out the timing of US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James O'Brien's visit to Baku and a call from US Secretary of State Anthony Blinkin preceding President Ilham Aliyev's order for early presidential elections on December 7. Gasimli speculated that the US is exerting pressure on Azerbaijani authorities due to their reluctance to sign a peace treaty, suggesting a potential agreement with the Kremlin on this matter.

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