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New Azerbaijan Party will win municipal elections

Interview with  Deputy chairperson of the MilliMajlis, member of YAP Board of Directors Bahar Muradova

Q: What issues will be discussed at the autumn session of the MilliMajlis?

A: As you know the MilliMajlis held the first sitting of its autumn session on September 30. The sitting saw parliamentarians adopt the plan of action.

I would like to note that the plan of action is very rich and interesting. It includes draft laws on armed forces and other armed units, on the status of servicemen, on agricultural cooperatives, on information and consulting services in agriculture, on science, and etc.

One issue which is constantly on the agenda of the MilliMajlis is making supplements and amendments to existing laws. The reason we have a small number of draft laws on our agenda is that the country has already adopted all major laws, and what we need is just making supplements and amendments.

The September 30 sitting featured discussions on a large number of issues. Moreover, our parliamentarians sharply criticized a recent biased resolution by the European Parliament.

Q: This year we will have municipal elections. How is the New Azerbaijan Party preparing to the elections. Also how do you assess the role of women in this process?

A: The New Azerbaijan Party is actively preparing for the elections. And women play an active role in this process. As you remember we encouraged our women to be more active during the last municipal elections. And this experience was very successful. Thanks to the efforts of the New Azerbaijan Party the number of women participating the in the previous municipal elections increased from 4 to 27 percent. This is a remarkable success which is associated with the New Azerbaijan Party. And we will remain committed to this policy. The Women Council of the New Azerbaijan Party has already held a conference involving heads of regional and city branches of the party to discuss the action plan in connection with the preparation for the municipal elections.

Our main goal is increasing the quality of work of YAP members in local self-governance bodies. And involving women and youth in this process is another priority.

Women play a key role in the organization of elections. They carry out the largest amount of work related to the pre-election campaign both generally and related to separate candidates. They are actively involved in organizing the work of local election commissions.

I think these elections will see a large number of candidates. Successful activities of women in the past five years pave the way for other female activists run for municipal posts. So I think women will play a greater role in the upcoming municipal elections.

Q: We already celebrate 15th anniversary of the founding of the institute of municipality in Azerbaijan. How do you assess the activities of this institute?

A: Municipalities have been functioning in Azerbaijan for 15 years. The institution of municipality was established in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Municipalities have already proved themselves in the Azerbaijani society. Municipalities maintain close cooperation with government bodies. Building relations with citizens is another key priority for municipalities, because they serve citizens. Municipalities have been actively involved in the socio-economic development programs implemented in the country. Large-scale construction and landscaping work is carried out across the country, and municipalities have an important role to play on this front.

Members of the New Azerbaijan Party regularly raise at theMilliMajlis the issue of expanding the status of municipalities, increasing their responsibilities, and improving the preside of the institution.

Certainly much depends on the results of the upcoming elections. The elections will demonstrate how people treat municipalities. Serious attention should be paid to choosing the candidates. Azerbaijan is a multiparty country, and representatives of other political parties will also participate in the elections. Sound competition will allow electing the best candidates. And our key priority, as I have already mentioned, is ensuring that more young and female candidates win the upcoming elections.

Q: Can we expect any reforms to improve the institute of municipalities?

A: In fact, reforms is a whole, constant process. There were many municipalities in the country previously. But their activities were limited. This resulted in the decrease in the number of municipalities.The MilliMajlis reviewed the issue several times, and as a result the number of municipalities fell to 1600. And this positively affected the work of municipalities. New municipalities emerged, and they built their work in line with international standards. The problems of municipalities are dealt with by relevant organizations and bodies.

Supervision over municipalities is carried out by the government. This is part of international practice. Supervision over municipalities is enshrined both in the Constitution of Azerbaijan, as well as the European Charter. In 2003, Azerbaijan adopted a law on the administrative control over the activities of municipalities. The execution of this law was entrusted to the Ministry of Justice and the Center for Work with Municipalities. Under this law, municipalities must submit their decisions to the Center.

As you know Azerbaijan now chairs the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, and we have organized several conferences related to the organization of work of municipalities. Recently I attended such a conference which was organized by the justice ministries of the member countries of the Council of Europe. And Azerbaijan`s experience and achievements related to municipalities were praised at this conference.