Monday July 15 2024

President Ilham Aliyev’s Democratic Spirits and Parliamentary Elections 2024

8 July 2024 18:46 (UTC+04:00)
President Ilham Aliyev’s Democratic Spirits and Parliamentary Elections 2024

By Dr Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

President Ilham Aliyev is well known for his rigorous politicization and democratization in South Caucasus and beyond. Ilham introduced and subsequently institutionalized numerous structural reforms that have further strengthened political liberalization, opposition co-existence, women empowerment, political diversity, accountability, transparency, openness, and the role of the law gearing up immense socio-economic development to provide basic necessities of life and protection of basic human rights. The snap parliamentary elections in 2024 in Azerbaijan vividly reflect Ilham's firm belief in the trinity of modern democracy.

It now seems that the Republic of Azerbaijan’s State, Society, and System have been further decentralized gearing to stable and sustainable development, ethnic diversity, multiculturalism tagging people, nature, business, and investment with friendly governance.

Most recently, President Ilham has signed a decree on the dissolution of Azerbaijan’s Parliament of the sixth convocation and the appointment of an extraordinary election to the Azerbaijan Parliament. An extraordinary election will be scheduled for September 1, 2024.

In this regard, on June 21, the Parliament of Azerbaijan appealed to the President with a proposal to call early parliamentary elections. The need to reschedule the elections was justified because in November, when they were originally scheduled, Azerbaijan will host the COP29 and other major international events.

On June 24, the President of Azerbaijan requested the Constitutional Court to review whether the dissolution of the parliament complies with the country's Constitution. The Constitutional Court, in a plenary session, confirmed the legality of the President's decision to dissolve the parliament consistent with Article 981 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan. Thus it has no political maneuvering and administrative control.

Despite sponsored media outlets of the West the Republic of Azerbaijan has the trinity of a modern democratic system consisting of respect for human civilization, fair, free, and transparent elections, a stable political system, and responsive democracy, pivotal for human survival, protection of basic human rights, freedom of expression, socio-economic prosperity, qualitative life, and last but not least, respect of humanity and ethnic diversity and hopefully, parliamentary elections 2024 will further strengthen, streamline, and systematized the governance, socio-economic sustainability and international cooperation.

Azerbaijan is a democratic country, and its Chief Election Commission is also an independent legal entity. Azerbaijan’s society believes in fair play, equal opportunity, the right to access information, and last but not least, the right to association, the golden parameters and principles of modern Western democracy. Moreover, the independence and vibrancy of its mass media always protect transparency and fairness in elections.

Historically, Azerbaijan was the first functional democracy in the entire Muslim world. Since its independence, it has been implementing numerous structural reforms to achieve the optimal levels of politicization and democratization in its country.

Azerbaijan has its unique model of politics and democracy which has succeeded in achieving desired goals of socio-economic prosperity in the country. During the last two decades, the state budget has increased 30 times. The budget expenses per person were less than 150 manats in 2003; today, this number is more than 3500 manats. As for social protection expenses, the increase in this area is more than 20 times.

Also, compared to 2003, the poverty level in 2022 has decreased from 44.7 percent to 5.5 percent, and the average monthly salary has increased from 77.4 manats to 839.4 manats. Thus, his policies have been catalysts for socio-economic development in the country.

The average nominal monthly salary has increased 12 times, from 76.8 manat ($45) from January through November 2003 to 923.1 manat ($543) for the same period in 2023. The minimum wage has increased 38 times, from nine manat ($5.29) in 2003 to 345 manat ($202.9) in 2023. The number of employment contracts has increased by 38.5 percent, from 1.3 million in 2017 to 1.8 million in 2023.

Employment has increased by 25 percent, from four million people in 2003 to five million people in 2023. The number of economically active population has grown by 20 percent, from 4.4 million people to 5.3 million people. The annual amount allocated for employment programs has increased from seven million manats ($4 million) in 2018 to 525 million manats ($308.8 million) by 2024 (75 times increase).

Under the presidency of President Ilham Aliyev (20 years), the GDP of the non-oil sector has grown 3.4 times showing the success of diversification of the macro-economy. Azerbaijan’s foreign exchange reserves have grown more than 47 times exceeding $66 billion. More than 2.5 million new jobs have been generated in the country enabling the reduction of poverty. Its GDP estimation is 6.3 percent which is the highest in the South Caucasus.

The ruling party of Azerbaijan rightly decided to hold an early election in the country because of achieving close “liaison” with the ongoing diversified but integrated economic and structural reforms. Moreover, the “constitution” of Azerbaijan allows snap elections which are also endorsed by the Electoral code.

With the successful holding of snap parliament elections in free, fair, and transparent manners, the Republic of Azerbaijan, a pioneer of “secular democracy” in the CIS and South Caucasus has now started its journey from “electoral democracy” to “substantial” & “liberal democracy”. Electioneering is at its peak. Political parties and their candidates are trying hard to win the hearts & souls of the common people to secure a majority in the upcoming election.

The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) was the “pioneer” in “granting rights” of voting to “women” even before the so-called civilized West. It introduced a novel concept of “political diversity” through the real representation of ethnic groups/identities in the parliament. the ADR consolidated the concept of “political liberalism” through the participation of various businessmen, and unionists in its first parliament even before the Japanese model of politico-economic governance”.

In summary, President Ilham Aliyev is the real custodian and guarantor of democracy in Azerbaijan which is responsive, productive, progressive, and participatory gearing the country towards greater prosperity, connectivity, qualitative life, and political diversity. It is a multi-party democracy which demonstrates its political maturity, societal decency, development-oriented policies, and the rule of law.

The Republic of Azerbaijan constantly continued the democratic spirit, concepts, and political reforms and achieved a “sustainable political system” with a “liberal democracy” in its country. It has its own unique salient features which do not merely rely on “mercantilization of economics” and exploitation of agents of production.

Its journey towards rigorous politicization and democratization has been people’s friendly through holding constant and timely elections. It has always been preferring people over profits by providing “basic necessities” of life and protecting “social equilibriums” and “spirits of multiculturalism”.

Thus President Ilham’s political discourse is achieving miracles in terms of immense socioeconomic development, a corruption-free system, good governance, fair, free, transparent, and open elections, the neutrality of all stakeholders, free will of the people, denial of all discriminations, the institutionalization of women empowerment and judicial independence in the Republic of Azerbaijan.


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