30 August, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 11/05/2005
AZERBAIJAN
Azerbaijan vote set to be democracy test

An election campaign marred by several human rights abuses closed yesterday. The international community, especially neighbouring Asian states, is paying close attention: the oil-rich country enjoys an important strategic position from a geopolitical perspective.



Baku (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Tomorrow Azerbaijan goes the polls to renew its parliament, under pressure from the international community and human rights organizations to ensure a democratic and correct popular consultation.  The country's democracy and 125 National Assembly (Milli Meclis) seats are up for grabs. But more is at stake. Azerbaijan, with its eight million residents, bordering Russia and Iran, is a crucially important state from a geopolitical viewpoint, apart from being a veritable natural oil reserve. These factors serve to draw the attention of the United States, China and Russia, all contending for this area of influence.

Candidates number 1,598: around half are contesting as "independent' and the others are spread over 48 parties. However, competition appears to be narrowed down between the Yeni Azerbaycan Party (Yap) of the president Ilham Aliyev and the Azadliq block, an alliance of three major opposition parties: the reformists of the Popular Front, the Democratic Party and the Musavat. The 

YAP garnered 10 out of 125 seats in the 2000 election which, according to unanimous expert opinion, were riddled with systematic gerrymandering.

During the election campaign, observers lamented repeated violations of freedom of broadcasting with beatings, threats and arrests of opposition activists, refusal to grant authorization to hold manifestations in Baku and police charges against unauthorized marches. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said public television dedicated around 97% of its electoral coverage time to the majority party in government and to the president, which also enjoy the favour of the press. Holly Carter, director of the Europe and central Asia division of the monitoring organization Human Rights Watch, said: "The government does not want free and fair elections". Yesterday, the last day of the election campaign, only the party in government was allowed to hold a public manifestation, while the Azadliq block was refused permission.

Rasul Quliyev, opposition leader in exile since 1996 and parliament candidate, sought to return: on 17 October, finding out that he would be greeted at the airport by military men waiting to arrest him as soon as he returned, he retreated. Government ministers have been arrested (including the former Health Minister Ali Insanov, considered the fourth richest man in the country), as well as public officials and businessmen accused of plotting to pull off a coup d'etat together with Quliyev.

OSCE observers will monitor regularity of the polls; they have already managed to secure some changes to the electoral law, like the introduction of indelible ink to mark the fingers of those who have already voted.

The party in government is tipped to win, but surprises are not excluded. Discontent among the people is high: according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), half the population lives in poverty, corruption is widespread and the problem of more than 500,000 refugees who escaped from Nagorno-Karabakh remains unresolved. However President Aliyev is very popular and many say he can count on the "power" of oil. The state has set up an oleoduct from Baku to Tbilisi and the Turkish port of Ceyhan, which will start operating within the year. Thanks to the oil, public revenue is set to shoot up by 128% between 2006 and 2009.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
10/08/2004 AFGHANISTAN
Afghanistan on the eve of presidential election, a country eager for life, peace and change
by Marta Allevato
07/05/2004 AZERBAIJAN
Government Shuts down Djuma Mosque Now Slated to Be a Carpet Museum
08/28/2009 UZBEKISTAN
HRW, Uzbek poet and dissident victim of abuse in prison
08/01/2008 AZERBAIJAN
Police use false evidence to arrest Baptist pastor
07/05/2004 INDONESIA
Keep Political-Economic Reforms on the Right Track
by Mathias Hariyadi

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.