Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Challenges of Electoral Competition in an Oil Rich State

The Monkey Cage: Due in large part to the continuing oil boom, Azerbaijan has accumulated a great deal of wealth in the last decade. The government’s annual earnings from petroleum exports varied between $15 and $20 billion in recent years. The assets of the state oil fund are now $34 billion. The influx of petrodollars stimulated voracious and visible government expenditure in a short period of time. The ruling family greatly benefits from this wealth personally and politically, as it has created both a patronage system to maintain loyalty as well as given the regime the resources to easily preempt any opposition... President Aliyev is likely to win [the forthcoming election] by a big margin, subject to electoral manipulation. But a 95% win would be too obvious and thus risky. Look for another high 80s. Less than 80% would make it appear as if Aliyev is less popular than in the 2008 election when he received nearly 90%.

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