He seems to be the only politician in Azerbaijan who can guarantee stability in the country
The personality of Azerbaijani newly appointed Prime Minister Ilkham Aliyev is more and more spoken about. This is quite understandable as the prime minister is highly likely to take over the presidential position from his father if the health of the incumbent president doesn't improve. For the time being, Azerbaijani President Geydar Aliyev is undergoing medical treatment in the US. At that it is quite impossible to get a clear picture of the actual state of his health.
The opposition says the president's health is really very poor. But Ilkham Aliyev keeps on saying that he will participate in the elections just to support his father and is ready to withdraw his candidacy from the pre-election race any time.
However, it seems that Aliyev Jr. is now making hints that he is ready to be at head of Azerbaijan. The other day he gave an interview to Associated Press. According to the news agency REGNUM, Ilkham Aliyev assured the journalists that he might withdraw his candidacy for his father's sake. At that he didn't specify when it might happen.
With respect to his pre-election campaign Ilkham Aliyev said that he didn't need to advertise himself. "The only thing that is necessary is a statement saying about the necessity to continue the policy of Geydar Aliyev." According to the prime minister, the voters understand it and this fact is sufficient to win their support.
Ilkham Aliyev also touched upon the potential of the opposition and said that it couldn't "take serious measures" to prevent his coming to power. He adds that now the opposition is in minority and has no social basis for successful activity.
As is seen from the above mentioned facts, the pre-election program of Ilkham Aliyev simple and straight-forward. The prime minister touched upon the Nagorny Karabakh problem and said that independence of the region was out of the question. He said that the only thing Baku was ready to give to Karabakh is autonomy with the framework of Azerbaijan.
To all appearances, the Azerbaijani prime minister feels rather confident. Until recently, many observers have considered him to be a rather unprepossessing politician; especially that Ilkham Aliyev was inactive in politics. However, he managed to win support of people from the president's team and also support of almost all countries which interests are represented in Azerbaijan.
In his interview, Ilkham Aliyev called the US and Turkey Azerbaijan's main allies. He says that the US assisted in the performance of power projects and Turkey is a country maintaining close political and cultural relations with Azerbaijan.
It is for sure that Washington and Ankara will privately support the candidacy of Ilkham Aliyev. At least, there are just few prime-ministers who can boast that the US president congratulated him on appointment to the position. George W. Bush congratulated Ilkham Aliyev on the appointment to the prime ministerial position, at that he touched upon the activity of Azerbaijani President Geydar Aliyev.
As for relations with Russia, Ilkham Aliyev says that relations between the two countries have recently changed for the better due to "the balance policy of the new leadership."
So, Ilkham Aliyev has guaranteed support to himself at the forthcoming presidential elections. Moscow, Washington and Ankara at least want the political situation in Azerbaijan to remain stable. No matter how the opposition treats Ilkham Aliyev, there is hardly a politician in Azerbaijan who can guarantee this stability in the country.