Azerbaijan’s Opposition Names New Candidate to Challenge Aliyev

Azerbaijan’s united opposition named a new candidate to challenge President Ilham Aliyev in Oct. 9 elections should its previous choice, Oscar-winning screenwriter Rustam Ibrahimbayov, be barred from the race.

Camil Hasanli, a prominent historian and professor at Baku State University, was picked as a “reserve” candidate of the National Council of Democratic Forces, the alliance of opposition parties said following a vote today in the Azeri capital, Baku. The group voted 72 to 1, with one abstention, in favor of his candidacy.

The Central Electoral Commission will probably announce next week that Ibrahimbayov is disqualified from standing in the election because he failed to relinquish his Russian citizenship on time. Azeri nationals holding dual citizenship are ineligible for the presidency. Ibrahimbayov was picked as the representative of the country’s secular opposition last month.

Aliyev, who succeeded his father in disputed presidential elections 10 years ago, was nominated by the ruling New Azerbaijan Party, or YAP, last month to compete for a third term in office. The Azeri leader’s family has run the oil-rich Caspian Sea state for more than four decades.

Ibrahimbayov, also known as Ibragimbekov in the Russian transliteration of his name, co-wrote with Nikita Mikhalkov the 1994 film “Burnt by the Sun” that won an Oscar for best foreign language movie.

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