- Azerbaijan Popular Front Party
The Azerbaijan Popular Front Party ("Azərbaycan Xalq Cəbhəsi Partiyası") is the main opposition
political partyin Azerbaijan, founded in 1992 by Əbülfəz Elçibəy. It has split into two factions, a 'reform' version, and an 'original' version, led by Əli Kərimliand Mirmahmud Mirəlioğlu, respectively.At the last elections ( 5 November 2000and 7 January 2001), the party won 11.0 % of the popular vote and 6 out of 125 seats in the Azerbaijan National Assembly. Its candidate Qüdrət Həsənquliyevwon only 0.4 % of the popular vote in the 15 October 2003 presidential elections. At the parliamentary elections of 6 November 2005, it joined the Freedom ("Azadlıq") alliance, but won only 1 seat.
History of the Azerbaijan Popular Front
The Popular Front of Azerbaijan (PFA) was an organisation in
Azerbaijanthat united a number of informal public organisations into one, working towards independence from the Soviet Union.
The Popular Front of Azerbaijan was established on
July 16, 1989with the initiative of patriotic Azerbaijani individuals as a result of movement of Azerbaijani people for freedom, sovereignty and democracy. PFA came to unite a number of informal public organizations which were established in the 1980s to struggle for the independence of Azerbaijan from the Soviet Union. In 1987 Əli Kərimli, a law school student, became the founder and leader of one of these informal organizations - " Yurd" ("Homeland"), that inspired and led thousands of students to the main square of Bakucity to protest against the Communist regime. As a result of this courageous step, a large-scale campaign of public demonstrations and meetings swept across Azerbaijan. Later the movement was suppressed by the special forces of the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Internal Affairs of USSR. Despite this fact, Popular Front of Azerbaijan was established and Yurd became an integral part of this movement.
In September 1989 the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan (SC), under pressure from PFA and its members in the SC, adopted the law on "Economic Sovereignty of Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic". As the result of an ongoing and unabating struggle under the leadership of PFA, the courage and defiance of Azerbaijani people in the face of Soviet oppression were recognised and celebrated across the former Soviet Union and around the world. In order to stop the growing popularity of PFA, in January of 1990, Soviet authorities sent the army into Baku city. Some 130 civilans were killed and 600 wounded. The main purpose of the
Baku operation, headed by Dmitriy Yazov- Minister of Defense of former USSR, was to destroy the political structures of PFA. Some believe that the Communists' plans failed because PFA was a truly national movement and the event only served to strengthen people's trust in the organisation and spelt the end of Soviet power in Azerbaijan.
Abulfaz Elchibey, the leader of PFA, won the country's first truly democratic presidential elections. A period of political, social and economic reforms followed. The laws on political parties, freedom of press, education and others were adopted. The country chose a pro-western liberal economic course and implemented successful monetary policy with the establishment of national currency. The most popular innovations were the administrative reforms and the reforms directed towards the creation of civil society. As the result of firm and consistent policies of PFA, Russian (formerly Soviet) army was withdrawn from Azerbaijan in April 1993. Azerbaijan became the first republicin the former USSR and one of the first in the former Socialist bloc which succeeded in achieving a full and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops.
However, independent and
pro-westernpolicy of PFA government could not satisfy geopolitical interests of Russia and Iranand hence, with the support of these countries, former communists led by the former KGBGeneral Heydar Aliyevcaptured the power. The president Abülfaz Elçibaywas forced to leave the capital city. Thousands of people were arrested; members of PFA became victims of political terror. In fact, this was the second largest attack on PFA in order to destroy this organization completely, while the leader was out of the capital city. Although, at a later stage the new regime assumed a pretence of democracy it was clear that Azerbaijan once again was in grip of authoritarianism.
Considering the dramatic and difficult situation facing PFA, Ali Kerimli took the initiative by leading and protecting the organization from the attacks of the new regime from 1993 until 1997 and restoring its political power. In 1995 with the proposal of Ali Kerimli and as a result of internal party discussions, Popular Front of Azerbaijan was reorganized from a social-political movement into a fully-fledged political party. In the same year,
Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan(PFPA) managed to take seats in Parliament and Ali Kerimli became a leader of parliamentary party fraction.
In 2000, after the death of PFPA Chairman and ex-president A. Elchibey, Ali Kerimli was elected Chairman of the Party. In 2000 parliament elections PFPA took seats again and Ali Kerimli was elected the leader of the opposition fraction in parliament.
Presidential electionsin Azerbaijan were marred by vote-rigging and fell far short of the most basic international norms and standards.Fact|date=February 2007 They were followed by another wave of repressions against the opposition. Despite this PFPA has recovered quickly and is rapidly emerging as a powerful opposition center.
As 45 percent of the population of Azerbaijan is living under the level of absolute poverty, the major goal of PFPA is to accelerate economic, political, social and legal reforms, based on European principles. Fact|date=February 2007
A major objective of PFPA is to promote a liberal model of economic development by implementing a comprehensive anti-corruption programme, rapidly developing non-oil sectors of the economy and creating an ideal climate for foreign and domestic investment through establishment of a flexible tax regime and other relevant measures. PFPA takes pride in their commitment to social justice and development of sustainable
social securityand welfare policiesis a major priority. PFPA seeks an active integration of Azerbaijan into EUand NATO. PFPA sees the future of Azerbaijan in the Euro-Atlantic community. However, it is impossible to accomplish these reforms with the old team of the current regime that has been in place practically unchanged since 1993.
Consequently, PFPA first suggested and then proclaimed the unification of opposition as the surest means to free and fair elections. On
18 March 2005Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA) has signed an agreement with other opposition parties on the establishment of a united opposition bloc – "Freedom" - for the participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections in November 2005.
* [http://www.axcp.org/ Official Party Website]
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