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HDI ranking: 82/187
HDI score: 0.734
Azerbaijan enacted local self-government as one of the corner-stones of its constitutional system. The government established several laws aimed at increasing the powers of the municipalities. However, local self-authorities do not have sufficient capacity, training or knowledge to carry out such responsibilities (UCLG, 2009).
Local governance at a glance
- Azerbaijan is divided into 59 districts and 7 cities led by chairmen of municipalities and heads of structural divisions. Chairmen of municipalities are appointed by the president. Heads of structural divisions are selected by municipal councils (UCLG, 2009).
- The local government structure is comprised of two parallel systems of governance. One consists of publicly elected municipalities with limited powers to deliver services to citizens. The other is Local Executive Authorities appointed by the president, which are part of the state governing structure (Keymer, 2010).
- Election to municipalities adopts a majority election system. The number of municipality members is determined by law and differs depending on respective populations (UCLG, 2009).
- The Centre for the Work with Municipalities and a special department of the President’s Office coordinate and oversee the national government’s relationship with local governments (UCLG, 2009).
- Azerbaijan has no legislative gender quota at the subnational level (IDEA, 2013).
Civil society actors include
- Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDS) is a non-partisan and independent non-governmental organization working for free and fair elections and the development of civil society and democratic traditions (EMDS, 2014).
- Azerbaijan Youth Union (AYU) seeks to increase youth participation in civil society and democracy (AYU, 2009).
Capacity building institutions
- The Center of Municipal Reforms in Azerbaijan focuses on bringing together municipalities from different regions to form local government associations (Mamedova and Bashir et al., 2002).
- The Academy of Public Administration (DIA) provides training for civil servants such as informational technology for public administration (DIA, 2013).
- Local governments have their own property and budgets as well as the right to impose local taxes and payments (UCLG, 2009).
- The central government allocates subsidies and subventions to the municipalities. Subsidies are used for equalization purposes and subventions finance social and economic development programs (Mikayilov, 2006).
Key initiatives for participatory local governance
- On November 12, 1995, local self-government received legal recognition in the Constitution for the first time (UCLG, 2009).
- In 1999, laws “On the Status of Municipalities” and “On the Elections of Municipalities” included the formation of a legal, normative basis for the organization and function of a local self-government system (UCLG, 2009).
- In 1999, elections for local self-authorities were held on a multi-party democratic basis for the first time (UCLG, 2009).
- Since 2000, 20 laws have been enacted to regulate different aspects of local government. These laws include “On the Status of Members of Municipalities,” “On Joint Activities, Unification, Division and Liquidation of Municipalities,” and “On Administrative Control over Activities of Municipalities” (UCLG, 2009).
Challenges for participatory local governance
- Although powers of the municipalities are increasing, the amount of subsidies from the central governments are decreasing yearly. Current revenue bases assigned to municipalities are insufficient to cover expenditures (UCLG, 2009).
- The number of responsibilities allocated to municipalities is limited by the law. In most cases municipalities do not have adequate capacity, training or knowledge to carry out those limited responsibilities prescribed by law (Keymer, 2010).
- The inclusion of NGOs in decision-making processes has been limited by insufficient development of the various democratic institutions (UNPAN, 2004).
Recent posts on this website about this country:
List of sources:
Academy of Public Administration (DIA), 2013: http://www.dia.edu.az/umumi2_en.php.
Azerbaijan Youth Union, 2009: http://www.ayu-az.org/en/2.html.
Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDS), 2014: http://www.gndem.org/emds
International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), 2013: “Republic of Azerbaijan.”
Keymer, G., Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs, 2010: “Draft Opinion of the Commission for Citizenship, governance, Institutional and External Affairs on Local and Regional Government in Azerbaijan and the Development of Cooperation Between Azerbaijan and the EU.”
Mamedova, M. and H. Bashir et al, 2002: “Local Government in Azerbaijan.”
Mikayilov, E., 2006: “Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers in Azerbaijan: Role of Tax- Sharing in Local Government Financing.”
United Cities and Local Government (UCLG), 2009: “UCLG Country Profiles: Republic of Azerbaijan.”
United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN), 2004: “Republic of Azerbaijan.”