Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 142

The newly elected parliament of Azerbaijan, the Milli Majlis, held its organizational meeting November 24 and reelected Rasul Guliev, a loyalist of president Heydar Aliyev and an oil engineer by profession, as parliamentary chairman. Aliyev’s Yeni (New) Azerbaijan party reportedly won at least 59 of the 97 seats filled in the November 12 elections. A further 20 deputies were due to be chosen in runoffs November 26, and another eight in repeat elections in some constituencies on February 4. The elections also returned Aliyev to the presidency by popular vote and approved the new constitution in a concurrent referendum. Aliyev’s and Guliev’s inaugural addresses noted that the constitution’s adoption and the parliament’s election represented the country’s first stride toward a representative political system; and that the parliament’s main tasks are to end domestic instability, create a legal system, promote economic reforms focusing on privatization, and overcome the country’s economic crisis. Both leaders held out the prospect of autonomy for Karabakh, which is however practically lost to Azerbaijan; and they called for the withdrawal of Karabakh forces from areas of Azerbaijan outside Karabakh itself. (11)