Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Coming Monarchy?

Azerbaijan's Milli Mejlis approved the proposed referendum to remove presidential term limits. The vote was 100 in favor, 7 opposed, 1 abstention, and 2 absences. The public vote is tentatively scheduled for March 18, 2009. Opponents of Ilham Aliyev have characterized this maneuver as an attempt to institutionalize the Aliyev family's brand of dynastic succession and scuttle any possibility of democratization. This decision, coupled with the threat of increased restrictions on foreign media broadcasts, and lack of a cohesive opposition with charismatic leadership, does not bode well for the future of competitive politics in Azerbaijan.

UPDATE (December 31, 2008): The National Television and Radio Council announced that it will bar foreign broadcasts on Azerbaijan's airwaves as of January 1, 2009. You may read reports and reactions from the BBC, RFE/RL, Voice of America, and the US State Department through the links. Russia's entertainment-oriented Europa Plus radio station also faces the ban, but makes no obvious mention of it on the website. The inclusion of Europa Plus shows the "multi vector" foreign policy approach at work; American, British, and Russian concerns are to be taken off the air. These broadcasts are not equivalent in content, however.

1 comment:

  1. Azerbaijan is not heading towards Monarchy, but towards hereditary dictatorship.