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Spotlight Article

Select Articles from "The Constitutional Act On The State Independence Of The Republic Of Azerbaijan"

Azerbaijan America Alliance
October 20, 2014

In 1918 The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic proclaimed its independence. Two years later Azerbaijan was incorporated into the Soviet Union as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. However, on October 18, 1991, before the official dissolution of the USSR, Azerbaijan once again declared independence by adopting “The Constitutional Act On The State Independence Of The Republic Of Azerbaijan.”

Azerbaijan enters the 23rd anniversary of its restored independence a stronger and more developed nation. The Azerbaijan America Alliance would like to commemorate the Anniversary of  “The Constitutional Act On The State Independence Of The Republic Of Azerbaijan” by revisiting a few of its articles. The document is only 3 pages long in an English translation; however, it provides perspective on the distance the country has come in just over two decades.

Article 2. The Republic of Azerbaijan is the heir of the Republic of Azerbaijan that existed from May 28, 1918 till April 28 of 1920.

On the first anniversary of Azerbaijan’s first declaration of independence, in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson met with an Azerbaijani delegation at the Peace Conference in Paris. The delegation presented a memorandum concerning the establishment of the Azerbaijan Republic. When Azerbaijan declared independence for the second time, it was as the direct descendent of its former incarnations.

"The Big Four" at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 Source:

Article 4. The laws of the USSR will remain unchanged until the acceptance of the due laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan; the list of such laws will be defined by the parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan began 23 years ago with no laws of its own, only the will to be an independent, democratic, secular nation. To begin, Azerbaijan had to initially adopt the laws of its colonizer. In just over two decades, Azerbaijan has transformed from a country with no laws of its own to a robust and independent democracy.

Article 10. The Azerbaijani people are the source of the government in the sovereign Republic of Azerbaijan. A part of the Azerbaijani people or any person cannot adopt the regulation of the country.

The direct state regulation of the Azerbaijani people is carried out through the representatives elected by the direct referendum or the general, equal and direct secret voting.  

Azerbaijan was founded as a democratic nation earning it the distinction of being the first Muslim-majority democratic and secular republic.         

Article 13. The State power of the republic of Azerbaijan is based on the separation of powers.

The legislative power is vested in the parliament of the republic of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The high executive power of is carried out to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The judicial power is carried out by the independent courts and high instances-by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the High Arbitrage Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan, like the United States, separated the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. This document offers little in the way of an outline of government structure or function, but separation of powers was included.

Article 19. All the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan are equal before the law. The Republic of Azerbaijan ensures the application of all the rights and liberties stipulated by the General Declaration of Human Rights, the Final act of the Helsinki conference and other legal generally accepted documents of all the citizens regardless of their nation, religion, race or sex.

Azerbaijan has upheld this mandate of equality and has become a model for a modern secular Muslim society. Azerbaijan never declared an official religion, despite the fact that 96% of its citizens adhere to Shia Islam. On a recent visit to the United States, Rafael Harpaz, Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan affirmed, “tolerance in Azerbaijan is an example to the entire world.”

Azerbaijan has not only adhered to the standards it set for itself 23 years ago, but developed into a influential international player. Azerbaijan is a member state of the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the NATO Partnership for Peace, and was elected to the United Nations Security Council for two years beginning in 2011. It is easy to forget that such an influential and stable country began only 23 years ago with 32 earnest Articles.


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