Azerbaijan/Government

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The Government of Azerbaijan consists of three branches:

--The executive branch is made up of the President, his Apparat, a Prime Minister, and the Cabinet of Ministers; --The legislative branch consists of the 125-member Parliament (Milli Majlis). Members are elected for 5-year terms, with 100 of them elected from territorial districts and 25 elected from party lists; and --The judicial branch, headed by a Constitutional Court, is nominally independent.

Azerbaijan declared its independence from the former Soviet Union on August 30, 1991, with Ayaz Mutalibov, former First Secretary of the Azerbaijani Communist Party, becoming the country's first President. Following a massacre of Azerbaijanis at Khojali in Nagorno-Karabakh in March 1992, Mutalibov resigned and the country experienced a period of political instability. The old guard returned Mutalibov to power in May 1992, but less than a week later his efforts to suspend scheduled presidential elections and ban all political activity prompted the opposition Popular Front Party (PFP) to organize a resistance movement and take power. Among its reforms, the PFP dissolved the predominantly Communist Supreme Soviet and transferred its functions to the 50-member upper house of the legislature, the National Council.

Elections in June 1992 resulted in the selection of PFP leader Abulfez Elchibey as the country's second president. The PFP-dominated government, however, proved incapable of either credibly prosecuting the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict or managing the economy, and many PFP officials came to be perceived as corrupt and incompetent. Growing discontent culminated in June 1993 in an armed insurrection in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second-largest city. As the rebels advanced virtually unopposed on Baku, President Elchibey fled to his native province of Nakhchivan. The National Council conferred presidential powers upon its new Speaker, Heydar Aliyev, former First Secretary of the Azerbaijani Communist Party (1969-81) and later a member of the U.S.S.R. Politburo and USSR Deputy Prime Minister (until 1987). Elchibey was formally deposed by a national referendum in August 1993, and Aliyev was elected to a 5-year term as President in October with only token opposition. Aliyev won re-election to another 5-year term in 1998, in an election marred by serious irregularities.

Azerbaijan's first Parliament was elected in 1995. The present 125-member unicameral Parliament was elected in November 2000 in an election that showed improvements in democratic processes, but still did not meet international standards as free and fair. A majority of parliamentarians are from the President's "New Azerbaijan Party." Opposition parties are represented in Parliament. According to the Constitution, the Speaker of Parliament stands next in line to the President. The current Speaker is Murtuz Aleskerov.

Azerbaijan has a strong presidential system in which the legislative and judicial branches have only limited independence.

Principal Government Officials
President--Heydar Aliyev
Prime Minister--Artur Rasizade
Foreign Minister--Vilayat Guliyev
Ambassador to the U.S--Hafiz Mir Jalal Pashayev
Ambassador to the UN--Eldar Quliyev

Azerbaijan's embassy in the U.S. is at 927 Fifteenth Street, NW, Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20005; tel: 202-842-0001; fax: 202-842-0004; http://www.azembassy.com.


Country name:
conventional long form: Azerbaijani Republic
conventional short form: Azerbaijan
local long form: Azarbaycan Respublikasi
local short form: none
former: Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic

Data code: AJ

Government type: republic

Capital: Baku (Baki)

Administrative divisions: 59 rayons (rayonlar; rayon - singular), 11 cities* (saharlar; sahar - singular), 1 autonomous republic** (muxtar respublika); Abseron Rayonu, Agcabadi Rayonu, Agdam Rayonu, Agdas Rayonu, Agstafa Rayonu, Agsu Rayonu, Ali Bayramli Sahari*, Astara Rayonu, Baki Sahari*, Balakan Rayonu, Barda Rayonu, Beylaqan Rayonu, Bilasuvar Rayonu, Cabrayil Rayonu, Calilabad Rayonu, Daskasan Rayonu, Davaci Rayonu, Fuzuli Rayonu, Gadabay Rayonu, Ganca Sahari*, Goranboy Rayonu, Goycay Rayonu, Haciqabul Rayonu, Imisli Rayonu, Ismayilli Rayonu, Kalbacar Rayonu, Kurdamir Rayonu, Lacin Rayonu, Lankaran Rayonu, Lankaran Sahari*, Lerik Rayonu, Masalli Rayonu, Mingacevir Sahari*, Naftalan Sahari*, Naxcivan Muxtar Respublikasi**, Neftcala Rayonu, Oguz Rayonu, Qabala Rayonu, Qax Rayonu, Qazax Rayonu, Qobustan Rayonu, Quba Rayonu, Qubadli Rayonu, Qusar Rayonu, Saatli Rayonu, Sabirabad Rayonu, Saki Rayonu, Saki Sahari*, Salyan Rayonu, Samaxi Rayonu, Samkir Rayonu, Samux Rayonu, Siyazan Rayonu, Sumqayit Sahari*, Susa Rayonu, Susa Sahari*, Tartar Rayonu, Tovuz Rayonu, Ucar Rayonu, Xacmaz Rayonu, Xankandi Sahari*, Xanlar Rayonu, Xizi Rayonu, Xocali Rayonu, Xocavand Rayonu, Yardimli Rayonu, Yevlax Rayonu, Yevlax Sahari*, Zangilan Rayonu, Zaqatala Rayonu, Zardab Rayonu

Independence: 30 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)

National holiday: Independence Day, 28 May (1918)

Constitution: adopted 12 November 1995

Legal system: based on civil law system

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Heydar ALIYEV (since 18 June 1993)
head of government: Prime Minister Artur RASIZADE (since 26 November 1996)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly
elections: president elected by popular vote to a five-year term; election last held 11 October 1998 (next to be held October 2003); prime minister and first deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly
election results: Heydar ALIYEV reelected president; percent of vote - Heydar ALIYEV 76%

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Milli Mejlis (125 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 12 and 26 November 1995 (next to be held NA 2000)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NAP and allies 115, APF 4, PNIA 3, Musavat Party 1, vacant 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Azerbaijan Democratic Party or ADP [Ilyas ISMAYLOV]; Azerbaijan Popular Front or APF [Abulfaz ELCHIBEY, chairman]; Civic Solidarity [Sabir RUSTAMXANLI]; Communist Party of Azerbaijan or CPA-2 [Firudin HASANOV]; Democratic Party of Independence of Azerbaijan [Vagit KERIMOV]; Liberal Party of Azerbaijan [Lala HAJIYEVA]; Motherland Party [Fazail AGAMALI]; Musavat Party [Isa GAMBAR, chairman]; New Azerbaijan Party or NAP [Heydar ALIYEV, chairman]; Party for National Independence of Azerbaijan or PNIA [Etibar MAMMADOV, chairman]; People's Democratic Party of Azerbaijan [Rafig TURABXANLY]; Social Democratic Party of Azerbaijan or SDP [Zardusht ALIZADE, chairman]; Vahdat Party [Leyla YUNUSOV, Jabrayil ALIZADE]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Sadval, Lezgin movement; self-proclaimed Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh Republic; Talysh independence movement

International organization participation: BSEC, CCC, CE (guest), CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECO, ESCAP, FAO, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM (observer), OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hafiz Mir Jalal PASHAYEV
chancery: (temporary) Suite 700, 927 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005 or P. O. Box 28790, Washington, DC 20038-8790
telephone: [1] (202) 842-0001
FAX: [1] (202) 842-0004

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Stanley T. ESCUDERO
embassy: Azadliq Prospekt 83, Baku 370007
mailing address: American Embassy Baku, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-7050
telephone: [9] (9412) 98-03-35, 36, 37
FAX: [9] (9412) 90-66-71

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), red, and green; a crescent and eight-pointed star in white are centered in red band