Azerbaijan. President Gejdar Alijev’s weak health left its mark on political developments during the year. When Alijev was cared for abroad in August, Parliament was summoned to a crisis meeting and elected President’s son Ilham Alijev as new Prime Minister.
As a result, Alijev the younger one was in turn to succeed his imperious father, which was made possible by a constitutional amendment approved in a controversial referendum in 2002. The opposition claimed that Ilham Alijev’s appointment was contrary to the Constitution and demanded that he resign. with the same requirements.
According to Countryaah.com, Azerbaijan Independence Day is October 18. Alijev the Younger became the candidate of the government for the October presidential election. Following an election campaign where the opposition was discriminated against by state-run television, Ilham Alijev, according to official data, won 79.5% against 12.8% for opposition candidate Isa Gambar. The government side was accused of extensive electoral fraud and, according to international observers, the election did not go democratic.
When the result became known, violent riots broke out in Baku. Police and military brutally cracked down on demonstrations and deaths and injuries were reported in street fights involving thousands of people. The newly elected president accused the opposition of trying to carry out a coup d’谷tat. However, when Ilham Alijev was installed as president in late October, he said he was willing to engage in dialogue with the opposition.
In December, Gejdar Alijev died at the age of 80.
In May 2014, the country passed a new NGO legislation that triggered a raid against national and foreign NGOs in the country. 10 human rights organizations were closed and their bank accounts confiscated. In parallel, the country assumed the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which was once an important instrument for the defense of human rights. At least 10 journalists, bloggers and media activists were arrested and convicted during the year for revenge for in-depth journalism or criticism of the regime. Arrestors are routinely subjected to torture.
Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban in November 2014 praised Azarbadjan and its president for “respect for traditional values”. He continued: “Hungary and Azarbadjan are both moving in the same direction”.
Azarbadjan participates in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program and has good relations with the EU. The country has contributed troops to the US occupation forces in Afghanistan. It also serves as a transport corridor for supplies to the US occupying force in Afghanistan. Azerbaijan’s large oil-financed economy makes it an attractive trading partner. Arla sold $ 1.5 billion in 2008 packing white cheese for the country. The same year Carslberg Castel bought the brewery in Bakú. And in 2011 Vestas supplied a wind farm with a total capacity of 48 MW.
The country was hit hard by falling oil prices in the international market. Its currency was de-facto devalued by 50% and many prices rose drastically without wages coming along. In January 2016, it sparked peaceful protests in several cities in the country. The protests were turned down by police and security forces. On January 18, the president signed a decree raising the minimum pension and the salaries of state employees by 10%, without this measure being able, however, to offset the fall in living standards.
In April 2016, there was a clash between Armenian and Azerbadjani troops in Nagorno-Karabakh. Acc. Armenia it was due to an Azerbadjani military offensive. The fighting killed 30 soldiers.
In September, a referendum was passed confirming changes to the constitution that increased the president’s powers and his tenure from five to seven years. With the changes, the president was given the right to print elections ahead of time and to dissolve parliament.
In early 2016, an amnesty was carried out during which 12 political prisoners were released, but the regime continued with new arrests throughout the year. At the end of the year, there were at least 14 political prisoners in the country’s prisons. Local human rights organizations put the figure at over 100. In November, Parliament passed amendments to the Criminal Code that made punishable to come up with online statements that violated the president’s honor and dignity. Violations could be punishable by up to 3 years in prison.