Azerbaijan Parliamentary election, 9 February 2020

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On February 9, 2020, Azerbaijan elected a new Parliament, after the previous one had been dissolved in December 2019.

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The Azerbaijani Parliament asked to be dissolved on the initiative of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP) – for the first time of the country’s history in December 2019. President Ilham Aliev, who was in power since 2003, called the election in order to elect a new body that could work more closely with him on reforms in the country. Parliamentary elections were originally scheduled to take place in November 2020, but were hence brought forward. The Azerbaijan’s Constitutional Court ruled in favour of the dissolution and Ilham Aliyev signed a decree to hold snap elections on 9 February.

The idea behind this early election seemed to be the establishment of new generations of politicians to government, to take charge of the legislative branch, and of economic and bureaucratic reforms. The general feeling was that a new generation of dynamic, modern and well-educated experts would enable the country to diversify its economy and reform its institutions to better respond to its population’s need. Azerbaijanis expected a clean slate with a new political mindset, completely untied to the previous Soviet Union structures.

So, when the government announced snap elections it seemed to set the stage for some kind of change: perhaps the opposition would be allowed to have at least a small representation in parliament, or there would be a reshuffle to bring in younger, more technocratic pro-ruling party MPs.

However, with a turnout of 48%, this election saw most of the elder MPs getting re-elected. The one remarkable result was the election of Erkin Gadirli, a member of the opposition ReAl party.

The Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center reported that on election day it had “recorded violations that had also occurred in previous elections – one person voting multiple times, busing of voters, ballot-box stuffing, and voting without registration.”, undermining Azerbaijan's position internationally.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
Wikipedia,2020 Azerbaijani parliamentary election
EurActive, 04/12/2019: Azerbaijan: Snap elections are coming – and a new generation of politicians
EurActive, 09/12/2019: Azerbaijan braces for early elections, banks on ‘modernisation’
Euronews, 10/12/2019: Snap parliamentary elections could kick-start a new democratic era in Azerbaijan
Eurasianet, 07/02/2020: Young Azerbaijani opposition candidates have a plan for that
Azernews, 10/02/2020: Exit poll suggests ruling YAP party leads in parliamentary election
EurActiv, 10/02/2020: In snap parliamentary elections, Azeris put hopes in young candidates
Eurasia net, 10/02/2020: In Azerbaijan, surprise elections yield usual results
OSCE, 10/02/2020, Early parliamentary elections, 9 February 2020
PR Newswire, Cision, 10/02/2020: Parliamentary Elections in Azerbaijan Usher in New Generation of Politicians
EurActiv, 11/02/2020: People in Azerbaijan ‘have a desire to be active’, says newly-elected MP
Trend News, 11/02/2020: MFA issues statement on early elections to Azerbaijan's parliament
Eurasianet, 12/02/2020: Azerbaijani police violently break up post-election protest

Reuters, 08/02/2020: Azeri president moves to modernise parliament with snap election
Click on Detroit, 09/02/2020: Azerbaijan voters choose new parliament in ex-Soviet nation
Azernews, 10/02/2020: Deputy PM: Exit polls show victory of New Azerbaijan Party
Reuters, 10/02/2020: Azerbaijan election marred by violations, say international observers
Deutsche Welle, 10/02/2020: Azerbaijan: Ruling party strengthens control amid violation claims
Azernews, 10/02/2020: Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry issues statement in connection with parliamentary elections
The New York Times, 11/02/2020: Azeri Police Detain More Than 20 Opposition Candidates at Election Protest

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