Parliamentary elections were held in September 1990, under a state of martial law. The opposition coalition led by the APF gained only about forty seats in the 350-seat Azerbaijani Supreme Soviet. Communists received the balance of seats in what the APF and others described as fraudulent elections. Most would-be international observers had been expelled from the republic by September. Bowing to massive popular demonstrations calling for the dissolution of the communist-dominated Supreme Soviet and concerted pressure by the APF and other oppositionists, in November 1991 the Azerbaijani Supreme Soviet voted to establish a fifty-deputy National Council, or Melli-Majlis. This council, a "mini-legislature" that met in continuous session, was divided equally between former communists and the opposition. Because of the Supreme Soviet's complicity in the effort to bring Mutalibov back to power in May 1992, the APF forced the Supreme Soviet to convene, elect APF official Isa Gambarov as acting president, dissolve itself, and cede its power to the Melli-Majlis pending new parliamentary elections.
Having repeatedly postponed the elections, the Melli-Majlis remained the sole legislative authority within Azerbaijan in early 1994. The Melli-Majlis proved generally amenable to Elchibey's policies, but in 1993 the worsening military situation in Nagorno-Karabakh brought increasing criticism. In his first six months as president, Aliyev gained support from the MelliMajlis for most of his proposals.
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