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Azeri President Set to Run for Third Term as Opposition Unites

Azerbaijan’s ruling party nominated President Ilham Aliyev for a third term in office, pitting him against the largest-ever alliance of opposition parties.

YAP, as the governing party is known, also re-elected Aliyev as its chairman and his wife Mehriban as a deputy, at a congress in the Azeri capital of Baku today, according to a statement on the president’s website.

Aliyev, who took over from his father after a disputed election 10 years ago in the first dynastic succession in the former Soviet Union, is looking to prolong his family’s four-decade-long hold on power. The Caspian Sea nation, where BP Plc and partners have invested more than $40 billion in energy projects since 1994, is the largest oil producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia and Kazakhstan.

The country’s main opposition parties plan to field a single candidate to challenge Aliyev in elections slated for October. Groups including Musavat, or Equality, People’s Front, Open Society, the Forum of Intellectuals and the El (People) movement said today they were united behind the National Council of Democratic Forces.

The goal of the alliance, led by Oscar-winning playwright Rustam Ibrahimbayov, is to win the election and ensure a peaceful transition to democracy, according to a statement distributed to reporters in Baku.

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