As a Council of Europe delegation prepares for a monitoring mission to Azerbaijan, leaders of the political opposition in Baku are expressing frustration that membership in the organization has not prompted domestic liberalization.
Opposition leaders, including Azerbaijani National Independence Party leader Etibar Mamedov, complain that government actions that violate fundamental human rights have been largely unaffected by Council of Europe membership. [For background information see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Opposition leaders worry that instead of democratizing Azerbaijan, CoE membership is helping to legitimize the autocratic regime of President Heidar Aliyev, increasing the chances that the aging Azerbaijani leader will eventually transfer power to his son, Ilham.
During a May 16 presentation at the Nixon Center in Washington, DC, Mamedov said his party had been denied representation in the Azerbaijani parliament following November elections "thanks to the
Kenan Aliev is a journalist, based in Washington, DC.