Aliyev and the Presidential Election of October 1993

Azerbaijan Table of Contents

Aliyev and two minor party candidates ran in presidential elections held in October 1993. Voter turnout was about 90 percent, of which almost 99 percent voted for Aliyev. Many international observers declared the elections biased because no major opposition candidates ran, and reporting by the mass media favored Aliyev and failed to report views of the other candidates or of the APF. Aliyev was sworn in as Azerbaijan's president on October 10.

Aliyev was born in 1923 in Nakhichevan of blue-collar Azerbaijani parents. He crowned a career in Soviet intelligence and counterintelligence services by reaching the post of chairman of the Azerbaijani branch of the KGB in 1967. Appointed first secretary of the ACP Central Committee beginning in 1969, Aliyev purged Azerbaijani nationalists and directed Russification and state economic development activities with notable success through the 1970s. His support of Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979 brought recognition in Moscow and the Order of Lenin from First Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, and in 1982 Aliyev became a full member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. From 1982 to 1987, he was also first deputy chairman of the Soviet Council of Ministers.

In 1987 Gorbachev ousted Aliyev from the Politburo and relieved him as party leader in Azerbaijan. Soon after returning to Nakhichevan in 1990, Aliyev was elected overwhelmingly to the Supreme Soviet of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic on a nationalist platform. The next year, he resigned his communist party membership. After the failed August 1991 coup in Moscow, he called for total independence for Azerbaijan and denounced Mutalibov, who was then aspiring to the presidency, for supporting the coup. In late 1991, Aliyev built a power base as chairman of the Nakhichevan Supreme Soviet, from which he asserted Nachichevan's near-total independence from Baku.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress