Azerbaijan: Rival presidential candidates unveil programs

Originally published
From RFE/RL Caucasus Report Volume 6, Number 2
On 31 December the opposition newspaper "Yeni Musavat" published what it claimed is a list of 15 measures that President Aliev's son Ilham plans to implement in the event that he is appointed prime minister. They include raising wages of budget-sector employees, including the police, by 25 percent every quarter, and displaced persons' allowances by 25 percent every six months, for an unspecified period; raising student stipendia; offering 30,000 unemployed persons in Baku, and a further 10,000 in Sumgait and 5,000 in Gyanja, jobs in the public sector; making one-time payments of $10,000 from the State Oil Fund to every family of displaced persons; channeling both domestic and foreign investment into the non-petroleum sector; building factories and canneries in rural areas to process locally grown agricultural produce; reducing customs and taxes; doubling allowances for veterans of the Karabakh war; and launching a campaign against corrupt officials. (One wonders whether this latter proposal could be a euphemism for a purge of current officials who are not happy at the prospect of Ilham succeeding his father as president.)

Ilham Aliev's promises of largesse and prosperity are in stark contrast to the central point of the presidential manifesto of Liberal Party Chairwoman Lala-Shovket Gadjieva, as outlined in an interview published in "Ekho" on 3 January. Gadjieva pledged that, if elected president, she would within two years either secure a settlement of the Karabakh conflict that did not entail Azerbaijan conceding sovereignty over any part of its territory, or resign. She did not rule out a new war to secure such a settlement. In an interview several years ago, Gadjieva said that if elected president, as commander in chief of the armed forces she would insist in the event of a new war with Armenia that her only son serve at the front. (Liz Fuller)

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