TODAY.AZ / Politics

Rauf Arifoglu: "If the authorities start suppressing protests aggressively, the events of 2003 may repeat"

11 February 2008 [11:28] - TODAY.AZ
"I consider the year of 2008 to be a period of serious opportunities for Azerbaijan, for democratic powers and for protesting electorate, which wants changes"

The due announcement was made by Rauf Arifoglu, editor-in-chief of the Yeni Musavat newspaper, commenting on the election situation in the country.

He said that the number of protesting people is higher in 2008 as compared to 2003, which is mainly caused by the price policy of the working government and other factors.

"With the inflow of assets to the country, the population is divided into categories, with gap between groups deepening, which leads to increased aggression. There are people, who now live better than in 2003. Yet they are also discontented, as they do not compare their living conditions in 2003 and 2008. They just see people who are getting wealthy by means of money laundering.

He also noted that unlike the year of 2003, the category of protesting people is also different now.

"If in 2003 these were only the poor and unemployed, while now these are people, by some ways connected with powers and represented in the state structures, or previously represented in the state structures, who are not imprisoned or are relatives of imprisoned people. The main paradox is that in such a situation, the opposition is weakening, instead of trying to consolidate", he noted and added that this evidences the incorrect work of the opposition, which does not use its chance.

He said that the opposition is not supported by the population as none of the opposition leaders conducts the inner inventory of its organization to reveal powers he has got for elections. He suggested the opposition to undertake decisions considering the results of inventory of its powers.

He also considers that opposition parties should cooperate more.

"I propose the opposition leaders to sign a memorandum on refusal to participate in the elections as candidates. They should announce that their task is concentration of all democratic powers to check their chance at the elections in 2008. This will change the political situation in the country".

Asked whether the repetition of 2003 protests is possible upon completion of 2008 presidential elections, he said that both the opposition and foreign experts consider that powers intend to hold anti-democratic elections.

"If this occurs, there will be people who will protest against it. If the powers start to suppress them aggressively, the events of 2003 may repeat. However I consider that some of our friends from opposition try not to become a target as in case of 2003 events", he noted.


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