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Azerbaijan is a republic with a presidential form of government. The Constitution, adopted in a 1995 referendum, established a system of government based on a division of powers among a strong presidency, a legislature with the power to approve the budget and impeach the President, and a nominally independent judiciary. The judiciary does not function independently of the executive branch and is corrupt and inefficient.

Azerbaijan is one of the oldest oil producing countries in the world. Its oil production declined through 1997 but has registered an increase every year since. Negotiation of 19 production-sharing arrangements (PSAs) with foreign firms, which have thus far committed $60 billion to oil field development, should generate the funds needed to spur future industrial development. Oil production under the first of these PSAs, with the Azerbaijan International Operating Company, began in November 1997. Azerbaijan shares all the formidable problems of the former Soviet republics in making the transition from a command to a market economy, but its considerable energy resources brighten its long-term prospects. Baku has only recently begun making progress on economic reform, and old economic ties and structures are slowly being replaced. An obstacle to economic progress, including stepped up foreign investment, is the continuing conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Trade with Russia and the other former Soviet republics is declining in importance while trade is building up with Turkey, Iran, UAE, and the nations of Europe. Long-term prospects will depend on world oil prices, the location of new pipelines in the region, and Azerbaijan's ability to manage its oil wealth.

Other areas of the economy are less well developed but there is an increasing array of opportunity in the infrastructure sector and in consumer goods.

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Women in politics, governance and decision-making
There are no legal restrictions on women's participation in politics; however, they are underrepresented in elective offices, since traditional social norms restrict women's roles in politics. The practice known of family voting, where men often cast the votes of their wives and other female members of their families exists but is declining in the country. There are 11 female Members of Parliament and 2 women with ministerial rank (Country Report on Human Rights Practices: Azerbaijan). The chief justice of Azerbaijan's supreme court is a woman.

Women's activist Novella Jafarova comments that most women enter public life through nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs because some women deemed politics is too dangerous for women in this country. In NGOs, women are more welcome. In Baku alone, dozens of women's NGOs have sprung up, and they are making an effort to enforce government policy.

Women nominally enjoy the same legal rights as men, including the right to participate in all aspects of economic and social life; however, societal discrimination is a problem. In general women have extensive opportunities for education and work. However, traditional social norms continue to restrict women's roles in the economy. Representation of women is sharply lower in higher levels of the work force. There are few women in executive positions in leading economic enterprises.


More on the status of women in Azerbaijan from this report.

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Important political facts

Political system/government type: Republic


Head of state: The President who is directly elected by universal adult suffrage. The incumbent is Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev.


Legislature: Unicameral. It is known as the Milli Majlis (National Assembly), which has 125 members who are directly elected for five-year terms.


Executive: The head of the government is the prime minister although the President holds the executive power. The highest executive body is the Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the President. The President also appoints the Prime Minister.


Most recent elections:
Presidential: October 2008
Legislative: May 2006                                               Constitutional Referendum: March 2009



Major parties:


New Azerbaijan Party (YAP)
Number of seats in the National Assembly: 75
Chairperson: Heydar Aliyev
Email: yap@yap.org.az

Popular Front of Azerbaijan (AKC)
Number of seats in the National Assembly: 6
Chairperson: Abulfaz Elchibey
Postal Address: 33 Khagani St. Baku, Azerbaijan
AKC Website

Citizen's Solidarity Party
Number of seats in the National Assembly: 3
Chairperson: Sabir Rustamkhanli
Postal Address: 4 H. Hajiev St. Baku, Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan National Independence Party
Number of seats in the National Assembly: 2
Chairperson: Ehtibar Salidar oglu Mamedov
Postal Address: 179 Azadlyg St. Baku, Azerbaijan




Political Resources on Azerbaijan

Other links:
Azerbaijan News


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Women in politics
Important political facts
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