Court Bans Communist Party
BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) _ The Supreme Court has banned the Communist Party, ruling that it is trying to destroy Azerbaijan’s independence by reviving Soviet-style international alliances, officials said Monday.
Party leader Ramiz Akhmedov called the ruling unfair. He said the party only wanted closer cooperation with other former Soviet republics, which he said could help end Azerbaijan’s 7-year-old war with Armenia.
``The court’s decision is aimed at preventing our party from running in the parliament elections,″ Akhmedov said. He said the party will appeal to President Geidar Aliev to lift the ban.
The court’s ruling Friday coincided with the deadline for parties to qualify for the elections Nov. 12, which will be Azerbaijan’s first balloting since the Soviet collapse in 1991.
Several leading opposition parties also have been barred from participating.
``The Communist Party has called for the restoration of the Soviet Union and for Azerbaijan to become a part of this revived union, in violation of the country’s constitution,″ said Fazil Mamedov, spokesman for the Justice Ministry.
On Friday, the government lifted the ban on the Popular Front, headed by former President Abulfaz Elcibey, and the Social-Democratic Party, which supports Ayaz Mutalibov, an exiled former leader.
Both parties immediately registered for elections.
The November parliament race will be the first since Azerbaijan became an independent state after the 1991 Soviet collapse.