Chapter 772: For Each One’s Own Interest (3)
Baku was rattled by the announcement that the royal family would provide political funds to all political forces.
The royal family’s provision of political funds was taken as a sign that it would block the inflow of illegal political funds.
It was a stern warning to those who support illegal political activities.
Since this was a fair action for every political party, people were fond of this decision.
Some nationalist political forces who were against the royal family rejected the political funds provided by the royal family, but they were under heavy public criticism.
Refusing to accept campaign funds provided by the royal family was seen as a sign that they did not recognize the existence of the royal family.
There was another reason why the people were fed up with nationalism.
This was because even during the Aliyev administration, the people were disgusted by the practice of advocating nationalism without any clear policies.
As a result, the conflict with Armenia led to the death or injury of countless people, and the economy was devastated by the massive spending on national defense to prepare for war.
Fortunately, Azerbaijan could get out of the foreign exchange crisis because of the support of the Kazakh royal family.
Other opposition parties were equally disorganized compared to the ruling party’s strides.
And while the ruling and opposition parties had no political experience, opposition figures, in particular, failed to come up with useful development pledges or policy pledges.
It was the result of a long dictatorship.
Aliyev left no soil for talent to grow due to the suppression of opposition parties under the dictatorship.
Even if they presented good pledges, people had no choice but to focus on the ruling party, which was the only one capable of keeping their promises.
Sevan resigned as the Interior Minister and embarked on the process of creating a new party as an interim leader.
He was very excited about this encouraging news.
“Your Highness, at this rate, we won’t even have to have an election. I was scared for nothing.”
“It’s too early to say that. Don’t let your guard down until the end. There’s still a lot of time left, so we don’t know what kind of variables might occur.”
“But I think it’s like we’ve already won. It seems that the opposition parties have lost momentum because the royal family is providing political funding.”
“Even if we don’t have anyone special to watch, the exile figures who will return soon will be different. They have both financial and organizational capabilities, so we can be counterattacked.”
Sevan seemed a little nervous at this point, but he was still full of confidence.
“Your Highness, not all exiles are clean people. They’re mostly criminals.”
“Was the ruling made during the dictatorship fair? I doubt how many people would believe it, and if you push that, you could lose people’s approval, too. It’s better to win with policy and development commitments.”
He was a former police chief and knew all kinds of information, but that would not be helpful in this election.
If something went wrong, the royal family could be damaged too.
It would be like the royal family supported a rotten politician, and the aftermath was bound to be enormous.
This was the weakness of Sevan.
Although he was known as a clean man from the former regime, he had a weakness of coming from the notorious Azerbaijan police organization.
He had a long history of serving as a servant of the former administration, so it would be a headache if the opposition parties attacked from that side.
Youngho had no choice but to choose Sevan, so they had to be extra careful in taking every step.
Sevan, who was well aware of Youngho’s concerns, was also deep in thought.
“Your Highness, I am afraid that I will cause trouble to the royal family.”
“It’s a long time ago. I know you didn’t have anything that will be a major problem, so don’t be too depressed. And there’s nothing to worry about. You did many things to prevent human rights violations while serving as the Secretary of Interior.”
Youngho said it as if he wanted to reassure himself.
“Why don’t we assign someone else to be the head of our party?
“There’s no one who is completely innocent. The royal family will block the mess, so let’s make sure we don’t make any more mistakes.”
If this would cause a flaw to Sevan’s career, Youngho was going to say that he was a Kazakh royal family’s man planted in the Aliyev regime.
In fact, Youngho and Pak Jong-il had a close relationship with him since the early days of living in Baku, and Sevan was Park Jong-il’s relative through his wife, so there was enough justification.
“I don’t want to be a disgrace to the royal family. I think it’s better to put down the party leader’s position in advance.”
Youngho thought Sevan would be greedy, but he acted unexpectedly innocent.
Surprised by Sevan, Youngho stopped him.
“Don’t jump to conclusions yet, and let’s watch the trend first. I think we can handle it if the royal family comes forward. There’s no one as important as you are, Minister Sevan.”
As if Youngho’s persuasion worked, Sevan did not insist anymore.
“I guess I shouldn’t have jumped into politics. It would have been better to help the royal family while keeping my minister post.”
“When the new parliament comes in, people will have no confidence in the current cabinet. It could’ve been a better choice to quit now than to be pulled down in the future.”
“I will do my best not to cause trouble for you. I will surely win the election and repay the grace of the royal family.”
Youngho was pleased to see Sevan becoming more strong-hearted.
If one was in politics, one should be this determined anyway.
Although he was extremely busy, Youngho made time to visit Kazakhstan because there was a lot to deal with there.
In the meantime, Azerbaijan’s electoral atmosphere had reached its peak.
He expected that all kinds of false rumors and absurd rosy pledges seemed to be rampant, but the process was rather proceeding calmly and fairly.
Among them, there was a place where opposition candidates were far better, but it was only a typhoon in a teacup.
Most of the weighty candidates were those who returned from exile during the Aliyev regime.
They were active in small and medium-sized cities, and the public’s view of them was also very favorable.
However, it was not enough to target the supporters of the ruling party candidates, who promised various development plans with the royal family on their backs.
The exiled politicians should have targeted metropolitan areas, but they made a mistake.
They could not beat the ruling camp that promised to make progress in developing underdeveloped areas.
They appealed to the people, using nationalism as there was not much progress but failed to win the favor of the residents.
It was a repertoire people had heard so much since independence from the Soviet Union, and they knew better than anyone that it would be expressed as the war against Armenia in the end.
“This is going to bring down the opposition completely. That would never be good for the royal family either.”
Park Jong-il frowned as he was worried about the current situation.
If the ruling party won a landslide victory, a political group without checks was bound to become arrogant, and it was hard to control when a large group fell into collective selfishness.
“I think we’ve overdone making commitments. How are you going to handle it all?”
In the case of less-known candidates, they were making excessive pledges, believing in the wealth of the royal family.
They were not even the development plans coordinated with the royal family in advance.
Although they were clean candidates, some of them turned out to be more ambitious than expected.
It was the result of poor verification due to the busy recruitment of candidates.
“So, I would like to exclude candidates who promise outrageous development pledges. I don’t think they’ll be very helpful even if they are elected.”
“Then the party leader’s position would be shaken…”
“It won’t be a big problem because it’s just to alarm other candidates.”
“And there’s another problem, and there’s someone I’d like to keep an eye on who came back to Azerbaijan this time.”
After taking a sip of coffee and taking a break, Park Jong-il brought up a surprising story.
“It’s a man named Mohasses, who’s back from Iran, and from what our agents have figured out, he seems to be getting support from the Iranian government.”
Youngho was dumbfounded.
Why would the Iranian government support an opposition figure?
“Why Iran? It’s been engaged in economic cooperation with us, and there’s no problem.”
Youngho asked back, but he could roughly guess the reason.
It was one of the countries that was concerned about the rise of the Federal Kazakh Kingdom.
“It’s obvious. What could it be? Iran is trying to keep us in check because even Azerbaijan became our federal state.”
The Iranian government must be hoping for the opposition party to win a landslide victory and loosen Azerbaijan’s relations with the Kazakh royal family.
On the other hand, it could be intended to divert attention from the Azerbaijani people living in northwestern Iran.
There were 12 million Azerbaijanis living in northern Iran, which was more than the people living in the mainland.
They were secretly pushing for independence from Iran.
Under these circumstances, the Iranian government was worried that the Kazakh royal family might demand the northern part of Iran.
“But something doesn’t add up. It’s a little strange that someone who should lead the independence of the Azerbaijanis living in northern Iran has a secret relationship with the Iranian government.”
“The people there don’t have a strong will for independence. They should be considered Iranians.”
“Then it’s more plausible to say that he’s being supported by pro-Iranian Azerbaijanis who live in Iran.”
“It’s probably because there are Azerbaijanis in the key posts of the Iranian government. I checked the source of the funds, and it’s from Tehran.”
Azerbaijanis living in Tehran alone accounted for 30 percent of the population.
It was the root of the anti-government forces.
When Youngho heard the story, he could piece things together.
The Iranian government must be afraid as the power of the Kazakh royal family grew bigger.
“Well, I’ll have to break the chain.”
“You should go to Iran. Tell them our royal family is not interested in the future of the Azerbaijani people living in Iran.”
Central Asia and the Caucasus were where many ethnic groups lived together.
This place would not be peaceful if they all wanted a county for themselves and independence.
If they had lived so far, they could live there as their hometown since they could not turn history back now.