Wednesday, September 26

A scandal of some sort- Azerbaijani female MP caught on camera discussing bribes

(Updated see below)

Well, its not surprising that an MP was caught discussing bribes nor the fact that MP was a female. Corruption and bribing has become such a normal occurrence by this time in Azerbaijan that hardly scandals of this sort really change anything. Perhaps, a bit of change- at least for savvy social media users the recent case of an Azerbaijani female MP discussing a specific amount of "500" (the rest of "0"s are unbeknownst) created lots of room for debate. As of yesterday for instance, a trending #500olsaydi [AZ] ("if there was 500") on Twitter became a popular way to express what would someone do if they had that "500" or various jokes about Ms. Ahmadova. In fact, some even decided to start polls- asking what would happen to infamous MP (or shall I actually say a YouTube star?)- will she be stripped of her mandate? Will she resign? Will she be treated as a hero?" and questions alike.

This video [AZ] at the end of this post, is the proof of Ms. Ahmadova discussing that bribe of "500". Since its in Azerbaijani, I thought I share a short excrept from the conversation that is taking place between the three of our heroes (by the way, so as not to confuse anyone, the elections at stake here are the 2010 parliamentary elections).

Gular Ahmadova: "I am well experienced in "petty fights"! You can't joke in politics! You have seen Ali Insanov, Ferhad Aliyev [currently arrested former ministers]! I am a person who eliminated [scratched off] the list of candidates [during the parliamentary elections in 2010] that went to the President! I take the money myself, who is Mr. Ramiz [Mehdiyev]? This is my price! I am the one who is asking for the bribe!"

I take the "500" is probably 500.000. The question is of what? Manats? USDollars? Most probably Manats, but hey who cares. We'll see what is going to really happen to Ms. Ahmadova. I doubt anything serious. And even if she is stripped of her mandate or taken down (very very very best case scenario), the rest of the 123 MPs still stand and who knows when their dirty deeds will surface...

The man in the video is Elshad Abdullayev, rector of a private university in Azerbaijan. Currently Abdullayev lives in France in exile. The bribe at stake is how much he must pay to become a member of the parliament. The conversation or bargaining would be a better fit for what is happening in the video heats up when Abdullayev says he was told it would 500 and not one million, while Ms. Ahmadova begins to boasts of her "successful career" as a rigger (see the short excerpt above). For more details, you can read this piece by AzeriReport.

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