Browse the listing below to find government information for Azerbaijan, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Azerbaijan at its
Azerbaijan Country Page.
Constitution: Approved in November 1995 referendum.
Independence: August 30, 1991 (from Soviet Union).
Branches: Executive--President (chief of state), Prime Minister (head of government), Council of Ministers (cabinet). Legislative--unicameral National Assembly (parliament). Judicial--Supreme Court.
Administrative subdivisions: 78 rayons, 11 cities, and 1 autonomous republic.
Political parties: New Azerbaijan Party, Popular Front Party, Musavat Party, National Independence Party, Civic Solidarity Party, Social Democratic Party, Communist Party, Liberal Party, Azerbaijan Democratic Independence Party, Islamic Party, plus 50 minor parties.
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal.
The Government of Azerbaijan consists of three branches: The executive branch is made up of a 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 U.S.S.R. 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. Presidential elections took place on October 15, 2003. Ilham Aliyev was elected to the presidency in an election that did not meet international standards.
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.