Elchibey Returns to Baku

BAKU (Reuters)–Former Azeri president Albufaz Elcibey–toppled in a 1993 military revolt–returned to the capital Baku on Thursday after spending more than four years in internal exile.

Elchibey arrived on a chartered plane at Baku airport from the Armenian Nakhichevan region–an enclave cut off from the rest of the country.

The thin–grey-bearded Elchibey–clad in a dark blue raincoat–was met by several close associates from opposition political circles. He greeted reporters but made no statement before speeding toward the city in a car.

A Popular Front official told Reuters earlier in the day that Elchibey intended to run for president in a planned 1998 poll.

"He is the leader of the Popular Front and the Democratic Congress and he intends to put forth his candidacy for president," Asim Molzade told Reuters.

President Gaidar Aliyev is expected to seek a second term as leader of the oil-rich former Soviet republic. Elchibey had repeatedly said he wanted to return to Baku but that Aliyev was preventing it.

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