“All freedoms in Azerbaijan are guaranteed and must be guaranteed, this is our policy,” President Ilham Aliyev said at the congress of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party. “In the coming years, new steps will be taken for democratic development, political reforms will continue,” he continued. In his opinion, in recent years “excellent results” have been achieved in this direction. “We must try to get closer to the standards of the most developed countries in the democratic world. And we will do it,” he continued.
“I think that if we want to turn Azerbaijan into a developed country, political and economic reforms should be carried out in parallel,” the head of state said. He also announced full freedom of conscience in Azerbaijan and this will continue.
Energy-rich Azerbaijan has been controlled by the Aliyev family for most of the past five decades. Mr Aliyev’s father Heydar was head of the country’s governing Communist party before becoming president of the post-Soviet republic in 1993. His son Ilham Aliyev took over as leader in 2003 and has been ruling the country with iron fist.
For all its accommodation with the west, Azerbaijan is one of the world’s longest-running dynasties and the ruling Aliyev family sees little incentive to change,” said Kate Mallinson, an independent analyst on the Caspian region. “The direction of the country’s political trajectory has been obvious from the creeping ‘illiberalisation’ of the government.”