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Azerbaijan to hold snap parliamentary election on 1 September 

28 June 2024
The Azerbaijani parliament.

Azerbaijan will hold snap parliamentary elections on 1 September, after the Constitutional Court approved the dissolution of Parliament.

MPs applied to the Constitutional Court to approve the legality of dissolving parliament early last week and on Friday, the court approved the decision. 

President Ilham Aliyev said the move was aimed at ensuring the elections did not overlap with the COP29 climate conference, due to take place in Baku on 11–22 November 2024. Parliamentary elections were previously due to be held in 2025.

Azerbaijan last held parliamentary elections in 2020, with Aliyev’s New Azerbaijan Party winning 70 of 120 seats amidst widespread incidents of voter fraud. The remaining seats went to pro-government independent candidates and small opposition parties.

A man photographed stuffing a ballot during the 2020 parliamentary elections. Photo: Turan.

Jamil Hasanli, who leads the National Council of Democratic Forces, an opposition bloc that includes the Popular Front Party and others, questioned the legality of the move.

Hasanli told OC Media that according to the Azerbaijani Constitution, parliament only had the right to dissolve itself under very specific circumstances, which had not been met.

‘Only the president has this right to apply to dissolve Parliament, and the Constitutional Court should decide if constitution law was broken or not, they have  a responsibility to defend the constitution.’


‘COP29 is not a valid reason for dissolving the parliament, this is a political decision, not a judicial one’, he said.

It is so far unclear which opposition parties will choose to run. In previous elections, a number of candidates from the largest opposition parties, including the Popular Front Party and Musavat have been barred from running.

Mustafa Hajibayli, a spokesperson for Musavat, told OC Media they had not yet decided if they would attempt to run.

‘Musavat as a party is interested in participating in the elections, but we have not decided yet. We always bring this kind of decision to the collegial conference’, he said.

Speaking before the exact date of the election was set, Hajibayli said that two months would not be enough time to prepare for an election.

He said the motivation behind calling for early elections was likely to limit the time opposition parties as well as foreign election observers had to prepare. 

‘As those in power always plan early elections, it seems like they are doing it deliberately’, he said. 

Hajibayli added that he did not believe that the Azerbaijani government intended to hold democratic elections. 

Administrative resources

Hajibayli told OC Media that financing was a major issue for opposition parties.

‘When members of opposition parties were in parliament, they did not allow the financing of parties from the budget. But after the purge of opposition parties in parliament [in the early 2010s], they decided to finance parties and amended the law on party financing’, he said. 

The Musavat spokesperson said their own party relied on donations and membership fees, which he said was only enough to cover utility bills.

Hajibayli noted that in the previous parliamentary elections in 2020, Musavat nominated 88 candidates, but that the Central Election Committee approved only 60 of them. 

‘And these decisions affected our right to obtain the right to free air time, since according to the law, 61 candidates’ documents must be approved to obtain free air time.’

Jamil Hasanli from the National Council of Democratic Forces said the government had already ‘cleansed society’ in preparation for the election. 

‘The Azerbaijani government extended the quarantine, land borders were closed, freedom of assembly was banned, journalists were arrested, more than 300 political prisoners were jailed’, he said.

‘Part of the preparation for these elections was the violation of the rights of AbzasMedia, Toplum TV and Kanal13. The government prepared for these elections with ‘cleansing’, as in Soviet times’ he said.

Read in Russian on SOVA.News.
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