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Azerbaijan

Yearbook 1997

Azerbaijan. The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the domination of the Nagorno-Karabakh breakaway cave remained unresolved during the year. Azerbaijan signed a cooperation agreement with the Russian Federation. meant that the Russian Federation pledged to mediate the conflict. The controversial issue of Russian arms exports to Armenia was also raised in the talks.

According to Countryaah, Nagorno-Karabakh elected new president in September - an election that Azerbaijan considered illegal. Almost 89% of the population voted for the uncompromising nationalist Arkadij Gukasian, who declared shortly after the election that the enclave would never be allowed to return to Azerbaijan. Both the Russian Federation and several Western countries had warned that peace negotiations would be made more difficult if the elections were conducted.

The oil pipeline between Azerbaijan's capital Baku and Novorossiysk on the Russian Black Sea coast was refurbished and inaugurated in October. The oil-rich country plans to export large quantities over the next few years, but there is a weak link: the part of the leadership that goes over Chechen territory. The right to the territory is stipulated in an agreement between Chechnya and the Russian Federation.

1997 Azerbaijan

Nagorno-Karabakh current politics

Ghukasyan was shot dead in an attack in March 2000 but survived. Against his denial, the former Defense Minister and Commander-in-Chief Samvel Babayan was sentenced a year later to 14 years in prison for planning the assault. A number of co-accused were also sentenced. A Russian newspaper described the judges as a victory for Ghukasyan and his allies over the "Babayan clan" in the struggle for power in Nagorno-Karabakh. The leading opposition party, the left-wing nationalist Dashnak (officially the Armenian Revolutionary Federation), had then protested that Ghukasyan and his party Democratic Artsach Union (ZYAM) had gathered too much power in their own hands.

When parliamentary elections were held in June 2000, ZjAM won by a small margin, and in local elections in September 2001, ZjAM won in over half of the local parishes, including the mayor of Stepanakert.
In August 2002, Ghukasyan was re-elected by a large majority.

In June 2005, the fourth parliamentary elections were held since the outbreak. Parties loyal to President Ghukasyan received 30 of the 33 seats. The opposition, which was given only 3 terms, claimed that there had been electoral fraud.

Among the five candidates who ran in the July 2007 presidential election, Bako Sahakyan, former head of the region's security service, was a clear favorite. He was supported by both the representative of Ghukasyan's party (now renamed Artsach's democratic party, AZjK), two opposition parties and indirectly by a leading government party in Armenia. Sahakyan won by about 85 percent of the vote. In various statements, both the EU and the US Department of Foreign Affairs reiterated that they do not recognize elections in Nagorno-Karabakh and that they continue to strive for a peaceful solution to the conflict within the framework of the Minsk Group (see Conflicts: Nagorno-Karabakh).

Before the parliamentary elections on May 23, 2010, EU Foreign Policy spokeswoman Catherine Ashton labeled the election illegal. It was won by the Free Country Party, which received 46 percent of the votes (14 seats) against 29 percent (7 seats) for AZjK and 20 percent (6 seats) for Dasjnak. Six partyless candidates were also selected. The turnout was 68 percent.

In the July 2012 presidential election, Bako Sahakyan won clearly, albeit with a smaller margin than five years earlier. He received about 66 percent of the vote. Former General Vitali Balasanyan was reported to have received just over 32 percent. It is reported that 80 observers from 15 countries have followed the election. The government of Azerbaijan had warned foreign nationals of serious consequences if they were involved in the "illegal" elections.

Over the years, international mediators, mainly from the so-called Minsk Group, jointly led by the United States, Russia and France, have tried to start a dialogue on a peaceful solution to the conflict, but no progress has been made. The tone between Armenia and Azerbaijan is harsh and irreconcilable, and in the border region, as well as around Nagorno-Karabakh, shootings and deaths occur quite frequently.

 

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