Azerbaijan’s Frustrating Elections

Issue Date April 2006
Volume 17
Issue 2
Page Numbers 147-160
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The 2005 parliamentary elections were a step back for Azerbaijan compared not only with the beginning of the post-Soviet era, but even with the parliament of the first "oil-boom" era a century ago. Yet as frustrating as the fraudulent elections were, they also furnished grounds for hope. For civil society, the democratic opposition, and the Azerbaijani people showed themselves capable of carrying on a tradition of peaceful dissent whose roots go back to pre-Soviet days. Opening up political space for that democracy-friendly dynamism—and not turning out sharper technocrats to serve authoritarian rulers—is the key to a better future for Azerbaijan.