An oppositional newspaper “Azadliq” has posted a video where one of the most influential members of Azerbaijani parliament from the ruling “Yeni Azerbaijan” (“New Azerbaijan”) party, Gular Ahmadova, is apparently discussing with the rector of a private Azerbaijan International University, Elshad Abdullayev, the bribe amount he has to pay for becoming a member of Azerbaijani parliament. A hidden camera video with an accompanying letter was sent to the newspaper by Elshad Abdullayev, who is currently living in exile in France (click here of the link to the video in Azeri language).
In the video, Abdullayev and Ahmadova are seen arguing over the bribe amount, with Ahmadova demanding $1 million dollars while Abdullayev insistis that he was told it would cost him only $500 thousand dollars. During the argument Abdullayev tries to appeal to Ahmadova calling the names of other influential political figures, including the head of presidential administration Ramiz Mehtiyev. In return, Ahmadova states that she does not need any names to be mentioned, that she collects all bribes herself and is capable of even “scratching off names from the list approved by the president”, apparently referring to the fact that all parliament seats are in reality assigned in the list from the country’s President Ilham Aliyev.
In another remark, Gular Ahmadova says “there are many who want to be a member of parliament, but there is only one voter”, by “only one voter” most likely meaning the President Aliyev. In a continuing haggling over the price of the parliament seat, Ahmadova reminds Abdullayev about the fate of arrested former ministers Ali Insanov and Farhad Aliyev and threatens him with a warning: “this is serious, this is politics – this is about power”. She also brags about being able to “take care of OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] and PACE [Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe]” – two European organizations that Azerbaijan is a member of.
Azerbaijan is known for pervasive corruption on all levels, including the ruling Aliyev family. Elections in Azerbaijan under the Aliyev regime during the past two decades have been grossly falsified according to international observers. After the latest 2010 elections, a parliament without a single opposition member was formed.
Gular Ahmadova has been an influential member of parliament from the ruling party since 2000. She is well-known for her outspoken anti-Western and anti-opposition stance. She is also the leading figure behind the arrest of the critical journalist Avaz Zeynalli, accused in blackmailing Ahmadova. Ahmadova was expected to testify against Zeynalli today.
(Azadliq, Azeri Report).