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We are an alternative, but not rivals to the fighters for democracy

On December 7, on the 105th anniversary of the founding of parliamentarism in Azerbaijan, the Third Republican Platform was created by a group of public and political figures. The founders, consisting of 7 people, include Akif Gurbanov, Araz Aliyev, Elman Fattah, Rovshan Aghayev, Ruslan Izzatli, Samad Rahimli,  and Yadigar Sadigli.

The founders' statement reads: "The liberation of lands occupied by Azerbaijan for almost 30 years and the restoration of territorial integrity have created new realities regarding the future socio-political picture of the country.

We believe that in such a reality, the emergence of new political forces with an excellent agenda is necessary for the future of the country. The new agenda can be conditionally called the "Post-Karabakh agenda". The leading elements of this agenda are the rejection of extreme statist political thinking in the country, which is the food of authoritarianism, the transition to a modern democratic political system, the restoration of trust in public administration and the electoral system, the elimination of acute imbalances in interregional development through decentralization and the transformation of regions into livable spaces, the elimination of sources of income inequality, which has a political the origin and endemic corruption, maximum minimization of damage, caused by climate change to agriculture, strategic objectives should include such tasks as the development of high-quality living standards. After some time, the post-Karabakh period will accompany the post-oil period and this stage will create serious socio-economic problems for Azerbaijan. From this point of view, the issue of sustainable economic development should also become one of the leading elements of the "post-Karabakh agenda".

"Our mission on this path is as follows: to ensure the transition from a managed society to a self-governing society. We are confident that this mission will win the favor of our progressive citizens and lead society to progress," the Statement says.

One of the founders of the Third Republican Platform, Yadigyar Sadigly, answers questions from ASTNA about the goals and objectives of the platform.

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Question: What is the purpose and mission of the Third Republican Platform?

Answer: The goal of the Third Republican Platform is to create a decentralized and secular republic based on electoral democracy. And to achieve this goal, we advocate the need for broad-based participation. We want to build a society in which human dignity takes precedence, where the right takes precedence over the "right of the highest", where the right is subordinate to the right, and not to one person.

We want to create a society in which human dignity will be a priority, where the right will be higher than the "right of superiors", a society subordinated to the law, and not to one person.

We want the distribution of political resources between the branches of government and local self-government, the transition from a managed society to a self-managed one, and the creation of broad opportunities for initiative.

Question: Why the Third Republic?

Answer: We believe that two republics already existed. In the last year of the First World War and after the February Revolution in Russia, when increased political activity led to the creation of the Republic of Azerbaijan. 23 months later, as a result of the Bolshevik occupation, this republic fell.

The second Republic was formed as a result of the popular movement that began in 1988. However, when Heydar Aliyev came to power in 1993, there was a departure from republican values. Currently, the expression Republic is nothing more than a formality, the people do not participate in public administration, in the formation of state institutions.

We intend to build the Third Republic. Unlike the previous two, the struggle for the third republic will not be a struggle for independence either. We have an independent state, and it needs to be turned into a real republic.

Question: The platform was announced on December 7, the day when early presidential elections were announced in the country. Is this a coincidence, or were you aware that such a step would be taken?

Answer: It was a coincidence. Work to create an organization, prepare its documents, and coordinate positions has been going on for a long time. About 2-3 months ago, we came to the conclusion that we can complete these works by the end of the year. Then we decided to announce the establishment of our organization on December 7, the 105th anniversary of Azerbaijani parliamentarism. Because this day is very important for Republicanism.

The decision to hold early elections was unexpected for us as well. We had to assess how much this decision would affect the agenda, how it might affect our announcement of the institution, and we came to the conclusion that we should not change our plan.

Question: There is an opinion on social networks that the purpose of the "Third Republican Platform", which appeared on the day of the announcement of the elections, is to participate in these elections as an alternative. Do you have such an intention?

Answer: To participate in the elections, it is necessary to collect at least 40,000 signatures in at least 60 districts. You will probably agree that it is beyond the capabilities of a new organization to cope with such a task. In general, our goal is to motivate people to actively participate in political processes. This includes both participation in voting and control over it. However, it is unrealistic to do this in the current elections.

Question: There are several political organizations in the country guided by the idea of republicanism – Musavat, REAL, etc. Will you be an alternative for them too? How will you be different from them?

Answer: Any new institution, whether political or non-political, means a new alternative. A new company, a new store, a new news site, a new university - they all create an alternative for people. As a rule, the words alternative and rival are equivalent. But this is not always the case in politics. On the contrary, alternatives sometimes turn into allies. For example, the Third Republican Platform may be attractive to a citizen who, for whatever reason, does not sympathize with parties such as the PFPA or Musavat. In general, this is also an acquisition for the democratic camp, including these parties. In short, we are an alternative, but we are not rivals for those who are fighting for democracy.

The existing political organizations in Azerbaijan were mainly brought to the political arena by the Karabakh issue. And this influenced their rhetoric: they competed to appear to be great statesmen and nationalists. Usually, authoritarian regimes themselves are most focused on statism and nationalism. But no matter how much the current government denies and does not turn the arrows on its predecessors, the heaviest defeats in the first Karabakh war occurred precisely under it. Those who did not fight for the independence of Azerbaijan and even opposed it were represented in the ruling party.

All this gave the opposition carte blanche in state-nationalist rhetoric. This is not to say that other issues were not raised, but this was the main discourse. In fact, Karabakh was considered the number one problem for society, and the opposition's desire to take advantage of this is understandable. But the victory in the Second Karabakh War radically changed the situation. Now the government has made significant progress in state-nationalist rhetoric, filling the gaps necessary for an authoritarian regime.

We are an organization created in the post-Karabakh period. Our goal is not to compete with the authorities in nationalism and statism. We will fight in the plane of those values in which this government will never be strong. These are values such as human dignity, true republicanism, self-government, decentralization, representative democracy, and the principle of separation of powers.

Source: Turan agency

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