OUR INDEPENDENT STATE AND PARLIANENT:
87 YEARS AGO AND TODAY

Constitutional Act "about the state independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan" dated October 18, 1991, gave the start to a new period in the history of our country - the beginning the process of the development. Azerbaijan people established the first Democratic Republic in the East in 1918 and could regain its state independence at late 20th century. In his order "to spend 80 years anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan" from January 30, 1998, the national leader of Azerbaijan people Heydar Aliyev said: "Declaring about its independence the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan established its first democratic state and proved the will of our people".

The Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan lived in tense and difficult social-political condition within and abroad the country. Measures taken by this state in short time left deep track in the history of our people. Equal rights of everybody despite the nationality, political and religious attitude and gender, determination of the state borders, adoption of the state attributes of Azerbaijan, the declaration of native language as the state language were the stable basis for future independence of Azerbaijan. Democratic state system, measures taken in the spheres of economy, culture, education and military organization reflect the achievements of 23 month activity of the democratic Republic of Azerbaijan.

… in 1991 we regained our state independence. Using the traditions of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan gained in short period we established the independent state of Azerbaijan, based on historical heritage."

1918-1920 is the period characterised with the formation of the political consciousness and national self-consciousness of Azerbaijani people. The Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan appeared in a difficult historical period sank in lost. Pipe laying and regular revolutions destroyed the tsarist Russia also weakened after the World War I. Russia already lost its prevalence; the empire kept the people under slavery for ages was gradually degrading. The decisive destruction of "double-headed monster" was in February 1917. Soon appeared a special committee on ruling of Transcaucasia involved the deputies representing Transcaucasia in the State Duma. Later established the government known under the name of Transcaucasia Commissariat. The first Transcaucasian Seym (meeting) of that unique government held in Tiflis in February 14, 1918. The Seym composed of the representatives of the tree Transcaucasia people, as well as the representatives of other nations and in April 9, 1918 it declared the independence of Transcaucasia.

In April 22 of the same year the Transcaucasian Seym established the Federative Republic of Transcaucasia composed of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. This entity also collapsed in short time under the definite forces. In May 26, 1918 Georgia declared its independence. In May 27 the National Board of Azerbaijan called its first meeting. The presidium of the staff of the National Board included Mehdi bey Hajinsky, Nasib bey Yusifbeyli, Khalil bey Khasmammadov, Mahammed Yusif Jafarov, Khudadat bey Malikaslanov, Jamo bey Hajinsky, Akber aga Sheykhulislamov, Khosrov Pasha bey Sultanov. By secret voting Mahammed Amin Resulzadeh chose the chair of Azerbaijan National Boarder.

The National Board in his meeting in May 28, 1918 with Hasan bey Agayev at the head adopted the Declaration of Independence of Azerbaijan. The document, which left deep track in self-consciousness of our people stated: "With the right of ruling, Azerbaijani people from the very day, declare Azerbaijan an independent state in the south-east of Transcaucasia".

The National Board established the first government of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan with the leadership of Fatalikhan Khoyski. With the purpose to inform people about the necessity of the establishment of the National Board and the governments, also their aim, representatives had been sent to different points of the country.

In the meeting held in November 19, 1918 the National Assembly adopted the law to establish the 120 member Parliament of Azerbaijan. It was declared at the meeting that the representatives of all the nationalities should participate in legislative organ. Thus the Parliament supposed to be composed of 80 Moslems, 21 Armenians, 10 Russians, a Germany and a Jew. In November 29 the National Board issued the address "To all Azerbaijanis!" relating with the establishment of the Parliament. It said: "… the first decision of the National Board, belonging to Moslems was to shape it into the state form. In accordance with the law adopted on 19th of this month, to the 3rd of December the National Board shall take the form of the Parliament made of 120 members. The Parliament shall involve not only the representatives of the national minority, but also the advocates from the provinces of the country.

…all the citizens of Azerbaijan are of the same nation and source, they are the natives of the same motherland. To live common life on this land and for their own prosperity they should help each other."

The first meeting of the first Parliament of the Eastern world held on December 7, 1918, in school for girls founded by Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev. The Parliament appointed Alimerdan bey Topchubashev the chairman and his first deputy Mehdi bey Hajinski the chief secretary of the entity. For the reason that Alimerdan bey Topchubashev was abroad the country at that period Hasan bey Agayev headed the meeting of the Parliament. The Provisional Government dismissed and gave its functions to the newly established Parliament. To rule the new government and to determine its members allocated to Fatalikhan Khoyski.

The representatives of the Armenians and the Russians did not participate the first meeting of the Parliament of Azerbaijan despite places determined for them. The decision adopted by the Russian National Board of Baku not to participate in the Parliament stated that Azerbaijan betrayed the idea of the "unique and inseparable Azerbaijan" and their participation at the parliament and the government meant to confirm the fact "Azerbaijan is apart from Russia". But for Russian population living in Azerbaijan the Russian National Board after a month was obliged to adopt the decision on participating at the Parliament.

Anti-Azerbaijan powers used the difficult situation existed in Azerbaijan and supported Armenian shovinists that aimed to extend their territories by those of Azerbaijan. Armenian national committees did not send their representatives to the Parliament of Azerbaijan for hey didn't agree with the independence of Azerbaijan. Soon they created in the Parliament the Armenian and dashnaksyutun fractions; in near future it became evident that the intended to use the tribune of the Parliament to realize their dream of " the Great Armenia".

The Parliament of Azerbaijan based its activity on the principles of the democratic states. Different parties and fractions were represented in the parliament. Those fractions and groups stated in their declarations that their purpose was to preserve the state independence and the territorial integrity of the country, establishment of the friendship relations with neighbouring countries and reformation. To our great pity, the members of some parties represented at the Parliament, mainly served the interests of their own parties than.

Despite of the difficulties of the period the Parliament and the government of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan managed to realize the minimal plan it determined for social-economic, military and cultural spheres. The Parliament adopted important legislation acts on different spheres of the state and social life.

Adopted the laws 'about the citizenship of Azerbaijan', 'about Baku state University', 'about the establishment of the National Bank' and others, approved the state symbols of Azerbaijan-the anthem and the flag, announced the competition on the national arms.

By a special law, for the first time the Parliament of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan Azerbaijani language declared the state language.

For the legal state establishment the Democratic Republic applied the principle of the distribution of the powers. The parliament carried out important works necessary to implementation of the main duties of the state and perfection of the legislation base. It worked hard to introduce young Azerbaijan all over the world. Particular attention was paid to development economical, commercial and other relations. The laws and the decisions of the Parliament played great importance in determination of main directions of the governmental activity.

Social-political condition of that period protruded the problems about the establishment of the army. For territorial integrity of the country, strengthening of this sphere was obligatory.

Parliament paid particular attention to the science, the education and the culture. The deputies were mostly interested in the development of national enlightenment, nationalization of educational and theatrical institutions and perfection of teachers' well-being. One of the main acts adopted by the Parliament on the matter was the law dated September 2, 1919 about the establishment of today's Baku State University. For training national specialists, the Parliament also established special commission on sending 100 Azerbaijani youth to get the education in foreign countries at the expense of the state. In short time, they sent talented youth to get the education in high schools of France, Italy, England and Turkey.

One of the great achievements of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan was recognition of the independence of Azerbaijan by the member-states of the Paris Peace Conference. With that purpose a delegation left for France on December 28, 1918 with the chairman of the Parliament Alimerdan bey Topchubashev at the head. In the result of the intensive activity of the delegation the main states participated at the Paris Peace Conference in January 12, 1920 recognised the independence of Azerbaijan. In April 22 of the same year the Parliament adopted the decision to establish the diplomatic representations in England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Poland and the USA.

Another problem t be solved by the Parliament was the determination of the borderlines between Transcaucasian republics. The negotiations held between Azerbaijan and Georgia on this mater gave successful results, while it was different with Armenians. On the 20th of March in 1920 Azerbaijan concluded bilateral contracts with Iran on friendship, consul and other relations that were approved by the Parliament on the 15th of April.

The first Parliament, that played tremendous role in formation of the national consciousness of our people existed only 17 months. Despite of that it proved that Azerbaijan people has power to establish its national state and the democratic republic based on the democratic principles.

Even at early 20th century Azerbaijan played important role in the formation of the first parliament in Russia. Six deputies from Baku, the governors of Yelizavetpol (Ganja) and Iravan and other parts represented Azerbaijan in the I Russia Duma. Alimerdan bey Topchibashev, Mammadtagi Aliyev, Asadulla bey Muradkhanov, Isamailkhan Ziyadkhanov, Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev and Atakhan Iravanski too active part in Duma. The I Duma also involved a Moslem fraction of 36 members representing different regions of Russia. Alimerdan bey Topchibashev appointed the chair of the fraction at the first meeting.

6 Azerbaijanis participated also in the II State Duma: Fatalikhan Khoyski, Khalil bey Khasmammadov, Ismail Tagiyev, Mammadaga Shakhtakhtinsli, Mustafa Mahmudov and Zeynal Zeynalov. All the abovementioned deputies were the members of the Moslem fraction of the parliament, Fatalikhan Khoyski and Khalil bey Khasmammadov were the members of the bureau. Azerbaijan was also represented in the III and IV Dumas.

All the abovementioned facts prove the role of Azerbaijan people in the formation of the parliamentary traditions in Russia.

During its visit to Russia the representative staff of the Milli Mejlis(the National Assembly) participated in the measurement dedicated to the 95 anniversary of the State Duma of Russia. in my speech there I spoke of the activity of Azerbaijanis deputies and mentioned that the deputies chosen from Baku, Iravan and Yelizavetpol(Ganja) governors honorably represented Azerbaijan. their activity, the appointment of Alimerdan bey Topchibashev a chair of the Moslem fraction prove the old state tradition of Azerbaijan and rich culture of parliamentarism. The chief of Armenian staff also spoke there but could say nothing in concrete for the reason that there was no Armenian state at that period.

Though the enemies managed to win the first Republic of the East, it couldn't destroy the spirit of freedom and the dream of independence of our people. Thus in 1991, when the Soviet Empire broke-up, Azerbaijan re-gained its independence. The events in the period of independence were as same as those happened in 1918-1920, Armenian aggression and diversions of foreign states against Azerbaijan repeated. Azerbaijan was stumped by endless problems.

By chance, in June 1993 the worldwide politician and public official Heydar Aliyev again got the ruling into his hands. He prevented Azerbaijan from destruction and supposed tragedies. Thanks to rich political experience of Heydar Aliyev, incomparable ruling skill, will and persistence, the problems fatal for our country found their successful solution.

He removed the state and government crisis brought the country to the edge of destruction, the attempts of coup d'etat and terror acts as well. Cease fire dominated in the front. He took important measures in army establishment. Azerbaijan occupied its deserved place in the international world. Supported by the world community our republic started its way of the development.

Social-political stability established in the country. We concluded the contracts with great organizations of the world on exploitation of energy resources in the section of the Caspian belonging to Azerbaijan; new oil strategy gave it results.

Great success achieved in the establishment of legal state and civil society, in formation of the principles of market economy and in the integration of Azerbaijan into European society, all the spheres of the social life and the state underwent deep changes. Carried out reforms on privatization and land reforms.

Adopted new Constitution of the Independent State, held democratic Presidential, Parliamentary and Municipal elections. Established the entities engaged in provision of supremacy of the legislation and protection of human rights and freedoms. For the first time in Eastern world liquidated capital punishment.

Our republic became the initiator and active participant of great projects that may effect the world processes. Thus Azerbaijan involved in the centre of the re-establishment of the historical Silk Road, laying of Baku- Tbilisi-Jeyhan pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi- Erzurum gas-line. The independence of Azerbaijan became "eternal, irrevocable and unbreakable".

We started the third millennium with the independent state. On the first days of the 21st century Azerbaijan accepted as competent member of the great international organization of the

Today's independent Republic of Azerbaijan is the heir of the Democratic Republic of the 1919-1920, and today's Milli Mejlis is that of those times Parliament. As mentioned the national leader Heydar Aliyev : "Today Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan is the successor of the Parliament established by the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. Inheritance is always a great responsibility. The inheritance does not mean the repetition of the previously done activity or realisation of it on the same level as it was before. Each heir should raise the event, the period and the structure on a new level. Our activity in Azerbaijan is based on this principle of inheritance and we may be proud of many achievements. Today's Milli Mejlis honourably carries out the mane of an heir; it carried out important work to develop Azerbaijan during the past and particularly recent years."

Worked out by the commission headed by the founder of Azerbaijan state Heydar Aliyev and adopted by the referendum on the 12th of November in 1995 the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan together with the first parliament elected on democratic principles showed the beginning of the development of political history of our country. Milli Mejlis is a branch of the state government that follows the legislative authorities determined by the Constitution. It formed and perfected the legal base of great establishment measures, political and economical reforms carried out under the leadership of the national leader of Azerbaijan people Heydar Aliyev.

The Parliament based its activity on the principles of democracy, multi- party system, pluralism and the supremacy of the law. From November 1995, it held 428 meetings and adopted 1221 documents, 987 laws, 192 decisions and other normative legal acts. In preparation of the law projects the parliament used the experience of highly developed world countries and took into account the propositions and instructions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the CE and the OSCE. All the abovementioned connected the European values together with our national ones and gave the opportunity to increase the profit of law-making process.

Legislative acts and other laws adopted by Milli Mejlis after thorough discussion created all legal basis for democratic development of Azerbaijan. Those are Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure, the Code of Administrative Faults, Criminal Code, Code of Crime Procedure, Labour Code, Family Code, Customs Code, Code of Taxes, the Code of Commercial Navigation, also the laws 'About citizenship', 'About Freedom of assembly', 'About Mass Media', 'About freedom of information', 'About the status of the refugees and the IDPs', 'About the Constitutional Court', 'About the Courts and the Judges', 'About the Office of Public Prosecutor', 'About the police', 'About the authorised (ombudsman) on human rights in Azerbaijan', 'About the Advocates and advocating', 'About Diplomatic Service', " about the Notary", 'About the protection of the Atmosphere', 'About the Employment', 'About social help to elderly persons' and other. I may proudly say that Milli Mejlis adopted and shall adopt all legislative acts necessary to develop our country as legal one.

One of the important directions of the legislative activity of the Parliament directed at establishment of legal mechanisms of regular and decisive reforms carried out in all the spheres of the society and the state. Milli Mjlis regularly pays great attention to deep changes in the economy, privatization, land reform, involvement of foreign investments, people insurance, care to the refugees and IDPs and development of culture, science and education. With the initiative of the national leader the Parliament adopted decisions on protection of human and citizen rights and freedoms. After Heydar Aliyev returned to Azerbaijan in June 1993, he applied moratorium on the capital punishment and for the first time in the Eastern World liquidated it in 1997. With the instructions of the president the parliament many time adopted the acts on the amnesty, re-returned the happiness of many families. The legislative organ of our republic confirmed many contracts signed between the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic and the oil companies of the USA, the Great Britain, Norway, Turkey, Russia, Japan and other states. It also established legal support to realization of the chief oil export pipe-line of Baku-Tbilisi-Jeyhan and re-establishment of the ancient Silk Road and thus strengthened the positions of our independent country in the Caucasus region.

Parallel with the legislative function Milli Mejlis took into consideration social-political processes in the country and carefully approached to wishes and wills of our people. Taking into consideration ten thousands of applications received from different parts of our country on the 27th of June 1997 the parliament declared the 15th of June the day of national salvation of Azerbaijan people-the day of when the national leader Heydar Aliyev returned to the head of Azerbaijan and saved our state from destruction. On this occasion, Milli Mejlis issued the book "Salvation" rendering honoured mission of the national leader Heydar Aliyev. It also issued the publication "Tragic pages of our history-genocide" dedicated to genocide against Azerbaijan people on 31st of March and the books 'Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan the first calling', 'Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan the second calling', spoke about the deputies of the parliament.

Milli Mejlis held seminars, scientific-practical conferences on the problems of the refugees and the IDPs, human rights, activity of non-governmental organisations, problems on the citizenship and gender and municipal elections by the Council of Europe and the UNO. For the first time several international conventions, which comprise the inseparable part of the legislative system of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the conventions on the status of the refugees and human rights, Geneva Conventions dated August 12, 1949 and protocols attached to them, translated into Azerbaijani within the cooperation with the representations of the Supreme Commissariat of the UNO on the Refugees and the International Committee of Red Cross in Azerbaijan and issued in high quality polygraphic publication.

One of the problems interested Milli Mejlis was to prevent the dangers waiting Azerbaijan form the abroad. The Parliament criticised illegal arms for $ 1 billion USA sent to Armenia from Russian Federation and strengthening of Russia-Armenia military Union. It worked hard to achieve support of the world for our people and to destroy the campaign of aspersion implemented by Armenian shovinists against Azerbaijan. Letters were sent to the parliaments of France, Austria, Germany, the Great Britain, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia and other countries rendering the historical reality about "Armenian genocide" that turned to the theme of discussion.

The role of Milli Mejlis in the development of the international relations could not be denied. There exist working groups in the Parliament engaged in the relations with more than 60 legislative organs of the world. Those groups carried out important works for the development of the relations of our country with world states. The representative staffs of Milli Mejlis paid several official visits to foreign countries and took active part in the work of the international organizations into which Azerbaijan is involved. Milli Mejlis is an active member of 7 international organizations: Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, the Parliament Assembly of the Black Sea Economical Cooperation, the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of member-states of UIS, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization of Islamic Conference and simple member of others.

To overview the previous works carried out by Milli Mejlis, it would be evident that the parliament tried to thoroughly carry out its duties for strengthening and development of young and independent state supporting wise internal and foreign policy of the national leader of Azerbaijan people Heydar Aliyev.

National leader Heydar Aliyev highly appreciated the favourable activity of the first parliament of our independent state. In the meeting of Milli Mejlis in February 23, 2001 he said: "Elected in 1995 Milli Mejlis did much work to strengthen the independence of Azerbaijan, to develop the process of the establishment of legal, democratic and secular state and to carry out social-economic, legal-political measures. All the abovementioned measure resulted in adopted laws. We may say that in former 5 years Milli Mejlis of Azerbaijan showed favourable activity and adopted important and difficult laws. Those laws carried out importance in the development the independent state in Azerbaijan, carrying out of the economical measures, provision of supremacy of the law and establishment of legal state. Milli Mejlis alaso distinguished in implementation of the foreign policy of Azerbaijan state by means of inter-parliamentary relations and other means. We should evaluate with dignity today the activity of old Milli Mejlis and Milli Mejlis elected in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan. I'm sure that the activity of today's Milli Mejlis will be more profitable than the previous one and use the achieved experience and thus it will implement the duties fall on it as the supreme legislative organ for strengthening the independence Azerbaijan and implementation of the liabilities appeared before the independent state."

Today, Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan based its work on needs and requirements of our state and people. It successfully continues the way of the Parliament of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan started 87 years ago and does its best to strengthen and develop the independent state. I am sure that today's Milli Mejlis-the heir of the Parliament of Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, implements with dignity the liabilities fall on it for the eternal protection of our state and will rise to the level of the parliaments of progressive world countries.
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