Azerbaijan’s virtual candidate

The World

His name is Shiraslan Qurbanov and today is his 70th birthday. He declares himself as the people’s candidate and yet his campaign relies on modern technology�email lists, YouTube videos, cell phone text messages, even social networking sites like Facebook. This 26 year old serves as his political director, and says the candidate is popular with younger Azeris. He says Shiraslan is also strong on foreign policy. Shiraslan might sound too good to be true, and in fact he is. The political director and some supporters didn’t like any of the real opposition candidates so they created their own, online. The director is currently a student at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government but he’s been tracking support back home for Shiraslan. The fact that Shiraslan isn’t real doesn’t seem to matter for many. The director says many opposition groups say Shiraslan as a joke at first but soon they were creating their own webpages and videos.

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