“When President Ilham Aliyev was re-elected, one of his objectives in his new tenure was ensuring transformation and reform initiatives in Azerbaijan. We see new faces, new people with new mindset are brought to different government institutions in Azerbaijan. Therefore, the ruling party in the Azerbaijani parliament called for the dismissal of the parliament and snap elections. We are expecting snap elections on February 9. The elections process is taking place in quite a vibrant and dynamic, open and democratic environment. We see a lot of young people applying as candidates in the elections. More than 2,100 people have applied. We see a lot of ladies, which is also a good thing. Women empowerment is one of the cornerstones along with the secular fabric and nature of Azerbaijani society. We do think that it will be yet another important opportunity in the transformation of Azerbaijani society along the path of democracy,” he said.
Hikmet Hajiyev noted that 19 parties, including opposition parties are taking part in the election process.
He went on to add that all fundamental freedoms and rights have been provided in Azerbaijan.
“Azerbaijan’s independence is 29 years. Where was Azerbaijan then and where we are now? Azerbaijan in early 1990s was almost a failed state. Azerbaijan was in instability with different political parties without any professionalism, fighting with one another. But where is Azerbaijan now? Azerbaijan is a stable and secular country. It is a multicultural country, where Jews, Christians and Muslims are living side-by-side. All fundamental freedoms and rights have been provided in Azerbaijan. We always say that human rights along with political rights are also about social rights and economic rights as well. In Azerbaijan we have 100 percent literacy. It is also about the human rights as well. But there are also issues that we are looking to solve. That is a vision of my president: fighting effectively against the elements of corruption, raising the efficiency of government services,” he said.
Hajiyev noted that Azerbaijan is also open to any criticism.
“What is important is to understand the country and also to appreciate the developments in Azerbaijan. Whenever criticism issues are rising, we are ready to sit together and discuss these issues. But this criticism should be fair, just and shouldn’t be politicized. We are ready for the constructive engagement,” he concluded.