Address of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to the Azerbaijani people on the occasion of the Constitution Day November 12 - Baku, November 11, 2000

Dear citizens of Azerbaijan!

I cordially congratulate you on the occasion of the 12 November Constitution Day November 12 and wish each of you the best.

Five years ago - on November 12, 1995 citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic, with a big enthusiasm, adopted the first constitution of our independent state by popular referendum. It was a new glorious page in the statehood history of our nation. The democratic, humanist and rich constitution which is the result of long-term efforts establishes a favorable ground for ensuring rights and freedoms of citizens, for maintaining independent statehood and for its progress.

The adoption of such a high-level constitution in Azerbaijan was not accidental, but a logical conclusion of the century-old statehood traditions and historical development of our nation. Even in 1918 the Azerbaijani nation established the first democratic republic in the Muslim East and declared its adherence to universal values, human rights and freedoms. The present constitution of Azerbaijan demonstrates the will of our people to establish an independent and democratic state, to hold a worthy place in the world community, to contribute to peace, progress and civil development of mankind. Based on universal values and progressive national traditions, our constitution reflects today`s realities and development perspectives of state and society.

Adjusting all spheres of life of state and society to the constitution, and polity, economy and democratization to modern world standards by using the opportunities of the constitution have made up the basis of the state policy during the last five years since the adoption of our constitution. Consistent implementation of the principle of separation of powers, formation of independent judiciary, ensuring rights and freedoms determined by the constitution, persistent observation of the principles of civil society and legal state in our republic are important tasks in front of us. At the same time, every citizen and public-political entity in Azerbaijan should fulfill their tasks and duties honestly determined by the constitution, love their country and state, maintain it and strive for its progress.

Our country has attained significant achievements in ensuring political pluralism and freedom of political activity. Based on new laws on election, next multi-party elections to Milli Majlis were held on November 5. Free elections based on competition and transparency were accompanied with high activity of voters and became an obvious sample of the dynamic development of democratization in the country.

On November 9 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a decision to accept Azerbaijan to the organization as a full member. It is an evaluation of the processes of democratization and building legal state, as well as of achievements in the sphere of ensuring human rights and freedoms in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan will further pursue the policy of integration with Europe and turn into one of the reliable strongholds of democracy in the Caucasus, Near and Middle East, using the experience of the advanced world and help of the developed countries. For us, democracy is not a value from outside, is the will and way of the Azerbaijani people.

I am sure the Azerbaijani people will further go on the road of democracy and political pluralism, strive to implement the principles reflected in the constitution by, taking into consideration the national characteristics, historical traditions and local realities.

Dear compatriots!

Once again I congratulate you on the historic holiday and wish each of you health, prosperity and successful activity for the progress of our state.

Heydar Aliyev,

President of the Azerbaijan Republic

Translated from "Azerbaycan" (newspaper), November 12, 2000