"The Azerbaijani political process resembles an elephant. Shifting it will require both strength and tact. Aliyev is not keen for the elephant to go on a rampage, but he also seems to be fed up that it has remained static" says commonspace.eu in this commentary
Ilham Aliyev has been chosen as the candidate of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party (YAP) in the forthcoming presidential elections which have been brought forward, and will now take place on 11 April. The congress of the party adopted Alieyv's candidature at a congress held in Baku on Thursday (8 February). The Congress was billed as a an expression of the will of the party's 700.000 members.
Whilst the decision was expected, it is also seen as another chip in the process of Ilham A;liyev's consolidation of power in Azerbaijan. The person elected as president in April will have a term of office of seven years.
It is not yet clear to what extent international monitors will be allowed to observe the election
Commonspace.eu political editor said that "accepting the nomination, Ilham Aliyev made an upbeat speech, hailing the achievements of the last years and mocking the opposition for mismanagement in the short time it held power between 1991-3, and also claiming that at the time it had not allowed the YAP to organise public activities in Baku. The president also repeated a hardline position on the Karabakh conflict, saying that there will never be a second Armenian state on Azerbaijani territory, and suggesting that Yerevan is part of historical Azerbaijan."
"There were however a number of interesting nuances in the speech. Ilham Aliyev said that reforms in Azerbaijan will continue, and said that political and economic reforms need to be implemented simultaneously. Previously the president had emphasised that economic reforms need to be implemented before political reforms. The president also emphasised the importance of Azerbaijan's relations with the European Union, and emphasised the need to align "Azerbaijan's traditions" with global standards."
Commonspace.eu political editor added: "There are few people in Baku, or elsewhere, who think that this election will result in anything but the re-election of Ilham Aliyev as president of Azerbaijan, or that the process leading to this will tick the necessary boxes for the international community. Yet this is more than simply a rubber stamp exercise. The Azerbaijani political process resembles an elephant. Shifting it will require both strength and tact. Aliyev is not keen for the elephant to go on a rampage, but he also seems to be fed up that it has remained static. The election may be an opportunity to give it shove."
photo: Ilham Aliyev accepting the nomination of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party to run for another tern=m as president, at a YAP congress held in Baku on 8 February 2018.
Bakhtadze later tweeted that talks centred on Georgia's new wave of reforms and the EU's continued support for Georgia's European path.