Azerbaijan to hold snap parliamentary elections on September 1

President Aliyev’s New Azerbaijan Party is expected to win a new majority in the oil-rich country’s legislature.

President Aliyev has touted the success of a September lightning offensive in which Azerbaijan retook the former breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh from ethnic Armenian forces [File: Azerbaijani Presidential Press Office via AP]

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has called snap parliamentary elections for September 1 that are unlikely to radically change the legislature’s makeup.

On Friday, Aliyev issued a decree ordering the dissolution of parliament, which is dominated by his New Azerbaijan party.

The 62-year-old president, who has been in power since 2003, won a fifth presidential term in February. That vote was set to be held in 2025.

His party, which holds 69 of 125 seats in the outgoing parliament, is expected to win a new majority in the oil-rich country, which has been courted by the West, Russia and Turkey.

Western energy firms such as BP operate in Azerbaijan, which is party to the OPEC+ pact between the OPEC oil producers’ club and other key exporters such as Russia to restrict output to support world prices.

Azerbaijan, which is reliant on revenues from fossil fuels, will host the United Nations climate change summit, known as the Conference of the Parties or COP29 from November 11-22.

Lawmakers last week asked Aliyev to dissolve parliament and call the elections two months ahead of schedule to avoid holding it during a major international event. The Constitutional Court approved the change on Thursday, which was criticised by opposition parties.

International observers had raised questions about the validity of the presidential election and the counting of ballots.

With power concentrated in the presidency, parliament has a limited role in shaping affairs in the Caspian Sea nation.

While some opposition deputies in parliament are loyal to Aliyev, critics have said they have faced persecution after a string of independent journalists and political activists were arrested in advance of this year’s presidential election, which Aliyev won with more by 92 percent of the vote.

Aliyev has touted the success of a lightning offensive in September in which Azerbaijan retook the former breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh from ethnic Armenian forces.

Almost all of the region’s more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians fled and Baku is now rebuilding the region amid plans to resettle it with Azerbaijanis.

Source: News Agencies