Mutalibov initially supported the August 1991 coup attempted
against the Gorbachev regime, drawing vehement objections from
APF leaders and other political opponents. Once the coup failed,
Mutalibov moved quickly to repair local damage and to insulate
his rule from Moscow's retribution by announcing his resignation
as first secretary of the ACP. These moves by Mutalibov and his
supporters were in line with the pro-independence demands of the
APF, even though the two groups remained political adversaries.
In September 1991, Mutalibov was elected president without
electoral opposition but under charges from the APF that the
election process was corrupt.
Azerbaijan began the process of achieving formal independence
October 18, when the Supreme Soviet passed a law on state
independence, ratifying that body's August declaration of
independence. Then in December, over 99 percent of voters cast
ballots in favor of independence in a referendum on that issue.
The constitution was duly amended to reflect the country's new
status. Immediately after the law was passed, the Supreme Soviet
appealed to the world's nations and the United Nations (UN) for
recognition of Azerbaijan. In December Mutalibov signed accords
on Azerbaijan's membership in the Commonwealth of Independent
Glossary), a move criticized by many Azerbaijani
nationalists who opposed all links to Russia and Armenia. A year
later, the Azerbaijani legislature repudiated the signature,
rejecting membership in the CIS. Azerbaijan maintained observer
status at CIS meetings, however, and it resumed full membership
in late 1993.
Data as of March 1994