This series is presented by  Ken Sweeney and Paris based journalist Viktorya Muradyan.

In this episode, we are discussing the recent elections in the state of Azerbaijan and our guest is Arzu Geybulla. Arzu is a journalist, columnist and writer who specialises on human rights and press freedom in Azerbaijan. With over 16000 followers on Twitter, Arzu was featured on BBC’s 100 Women Changemakers in 2014. In the past, Arzu has written for Al Jazeera, Eurasianet, Foreign Policy Democracy Lab, and RFL. She is a regular contributor at Open Democracy and currently, Arzu is based in Istanbul where she is working on a book about the story of Azerbaijani political dissidents.

In October 2019, the PM of Azerbaijan resigned and President Aliyev replaced him with his close ally Ali Asadov. Shortly after, President Ilham Aliyev dismissed his chief of staff, Ramiz Mehdiyev, who has served as the Head of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan from 1994 to 2019, Azerbaijani MPs approved a proposal to dissolve parliament and ask President Aliyev to call a snap election on February the 9th. This was big news in an authoritarian regime where a single leader and his circle of close associates have structured the country’s politics for almost two decades. So has there been some kind of internal shake-up in Azerbaijan’s Government?

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