The most important opposition parties are the Azerbaijan Popular Front, the Musavat Party, and the National Independence Party. The first two are both nationalist parties with a general pro-Western and pro-Turkish orientation.
|Musavat Party||Claims the legacy of the old Musavat. Its chairman is Isa Gambar, who was parliamentary speaker during Elchibei’s presidency, and many former ministers and diplomats of the Elchibei administration are among its members.|
|Azerbaijan Popular Front||Split in recent years into two wings—a more nationalist wing led by Elchibei’s followers, both before and after his death in 2000, and a more liberal democratic wing led by Ali Kerimli.|
|National Independence Party||Led by Etibar Mammadov, a former presidential candidate who was earlier considered to be a “loyal”opposition. Also a legacy of the late Soviet nationalistmovement.|
There are a considerable number of less important opposition parties, including communists, social democrats, environmentalists, pro-Iranian Islamists, and extreme pan-Turkic nationalists.
The current constitution was endorsed by referendum in 1995. It concentrates extensive powers in the hands of the president. The parliament or national assembly consists of 125 deputies, of whom 100 are elected in single-mandate constituencies and 25 by proportional representation from party lists. Only parties receiving a minimum of the vote—initially 8%, later reduced to 6%—are represented in parliament.
A referendum held in 2002 approved 39 amendments to the constitution.