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Azerbaijan's Abrupt Snap Elections Raises Concerns: Expert Warns of Aliyev’s Aggressive Intent

Azerbaijan's Abrupt Snap Elections Raises Concerns: Expert Warns of Aliyev’s Aggressive Intent

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Ilham Aliyev, the incumbent President of Azerbaijan, has been put forth as the ruling "Yeni Azerbaijan" party's candidate for the snap presidential elections scheduled for February 7, 2024. Tair Budagov, the vice-chairman of the party, made this announcement, setting the stage for an aggressive political development in the country.

In an exclusive statement given to The Armenian Report, Tatev Hayrapetyan, an Expert in Azerbaijani studies, shared insights into the implications of the upcoming elections in Azerbaijan for Armenia. Hayrapetyan's analysis shed light on the unexpected nature of the snap presidential elections, highlighting its timing right after Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, James C. O’Brien's visit to Baku. This sequence of events has led many analysts in Azerbaijan to speculate that Aliyev might have been pressured into signing a peace deal, resulting in his decision to call for elections to buy time until the following year.

Hayrapetyan's statement shows Aliyev's consistent refusal to sign any peace deal, emphasizing his strategic use of Western platforms to pressure Armenia into recognizing Nagorno Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. The expert accused Aliyev of committing ethnic cleansing and targeting the Armenian population, with no accountability for his actions.

President Aliyev's rhetoric praising war as a means to achieve peace was also highlighted, indicating his aggressive stance and intentions. Hayrapetyan's assessment predicted that Aliyev's objective behind the early elections was multifaceted. It suggested that Aliyev aimed to prolong the time frame for territorial gains, showcase his dictatorship as "elected," and assert control over Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) through elections held under Azerbaijani laws.

Moreover, the snap elections were deemed as a strategic move to prevent confusion or dissent within the country. The expert concluded by warning of an anticipated rise in Azerbaijan's aggressive approach, signaling a continuation of military-centric solutions under Aliyev's rule.

In line with these developments, President Aliyev issued an order to Azerbaijan's Central Election Commission to prepare for the early presidential election on February 7, preceding Russia's presidential election scheduled for March 17. This decision deviates from the previously scheduled presidential election set for 2025, leaving the rationale behind the abrupt call for early elections unexplained.

Read Tatev Hayrapetyan’s full statement to The Armenian Report here:  

“The announcement of the snap presidential elections was a surprise for the entire Azerbaijan. It occurred right after the visit of Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, James C. O’Brien, to Baku. 

Consequently, many analysts in Azerbaijan are inclined to think that Aliyev was under pressure to sign a "peace deal," leading him to opt for buying time until the beginning of the next year. I had predicted a while ago and even published an article stating that Aliyev has no intention of signing such a deal. He utilized Western platforms to compel Pashinyan to recognize Nagorno Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan. Following this, he committed ethnic cleansing and eradicated the entire Armenian population. Aliyev faced no punishment for his aggression in 2020 or for his subsequent aggressive actions. Moreover, on the eve of announcing the snap election, he stated, 'We brought peace through war. I believe this is a matter that should be considered on a broader scale beyond the local situation in the Caucasus. How can peace be achieved? Through military means...' Aliyev not only proudly speaks about war but also encourages other aggressive states to 'solve' issues through war. This behavior is unprecedented. Therefore, I believe that Aliyev aims to achieve several objectives by announcing snap elections. Firstly, he buys additional time because he never solely desired Nagorno Karabakh, as evident from his continual reference to Armenia as "Western Azerbaijan." Secondly, since the declaration of Azerbaijan's independence, no elections have been held in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh under Azerbaijani laws. For the first time, Azerbaijan will hold elections in those territories after the forced displacement of Armenians. Thirdly, Aliyev aims to demonstrate that his dictatorship is "elected." In other words, he seeks to portray that the people willingly accept the dictatorial regime. After decades of promoting aggression, hatred, and revenge against Armenians, Aliyev has showcased how he "punishes" Armenians and indicates his intention to continue his aggressive actions. Ultimately, through unexpected elections, Aliyev also aims to prevent any confusion and dissension if such risks become apparent. To conclude, as a result of snap elections, we anticipate a more aggressive and assertive Azerbaijan, aiming to persist in "solving" issues through military means,” Hayrapetyan wrote to The Armenian Report in an exclusive statement.”


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