Is the Opposition Ready for Early Parliamentary Elections?

On June 21, the Milli Majlis, Azerbaijan's National Assembly, appealed to President Ilham Aliyev to call for early parliamentary elections. This request followed a June 20 meeting of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party (YAP), where it was proposed that elections be moved forward due to international events scheduled for November, when elections were originally planned.

The Constitutional Court is set to review the President's request to dissolve the Milli Majlis and call early elections on June 27. This move has sparked debate on whether the opposition is prepared for an accelerated electoral timeline.

Seymour Khazi, Deputy Chairman of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan, addressed this issue in the "Difficult Question" program. He criticized the process, arguing that it should have been the executive branch, not the parliament, to propose the election postponement. This, Khazi claims, reveals that the parliament and government are controlled from a single center—the presidential administration. According to Khazi, the initiative to dissolve the Milli Majlis and advance the elections was directed by the presidential administration, with YAP deputies merely executing these orders.

"No one knows what the decision on this issue will be. They are just employees of the lower-ranking presidential administration. They were instructed to do this and they are doing it. That's where their work ends. At the next stage, they will call whoever they deem necessary and say, 'You will be a deputy, put forward your candidacy,'" Khazi remarked.

Khazi believes the true motive behind the election rescheduling is President Aliyev's desire to distance the public from politics. He contends that this tactic ensures election outcomes do not reflect the popular will. "The result should not reflect the will of the people. And then, eventually, people will ask themselves, 'What does all this have to do with me if deputies are appointed, if our votes don't matter at all?'"

He further argues that the continued closure of land borders is part of a broader strategy to disengage the populace from socio-political activities. "Step by step, the people are being removed from socio-political activities," Khazi asserts.

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