Author: Namig VAGIFOGLU Baku
Azerbaijan initiated the process of establishing the institute of vice-presidency approved on September 26, 2016 by popular vote on the introduction of constitutional amendments. Therefore, the first practical step in this direction was quite logical and expected.
On February 21, President Ilham Aliyev signed an order on appointment of Mehriban Aliyeva as the First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. On the same day, the President called the Security Council meeting and presented the first vice-president. "Today, I ordered to appoint Mehriban Aliyeva as the First Vice-President of the Azerbaijan Republic. For many years, she has played an important and active role in the socio-political and cultural life of our country", said the president to substantiate such a significant public appointment.
President underlined the great role of Mehriban Aliyeva in the socio-political life of Azerbaijan as a member of the parliament (Milli Majlis). She has also carried out large-scale international activities. "The number of our friends in various countries has increased as a result of this activity", said the president.
Advancement of Mehriban Aliyeva as an influential public and political figure of international scale is inextricably linked with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, which she has led since 2004. Due to the humanitarian, social, cultural and international dimension of these activities, the Foundation sometimes acts as the actual initiator of reforms in these areas.
As noted by President Aliyev, the Foundation had initiated many substantial national projects and programs. "One of such programs is the "New schools for the Renewed Azerbaijan". More than three thousand schools have been repaired or rebuilt since this program was launched 13 years ago... Other projects served the comprehensive development of our country. Thanks to the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, thousands of people were provided with medical treatment. In many cases, these achievements are not disclosed to the public", said the President, adding that the projects of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation related to the development of culture and art played an indispensable role in the preservation of spiritual, historical and cultural heritage of Azerbaijan and promotion of the country in the world.
The activities or Mrs. Aliyeva in establishing a dialogue between cultures and civilizations deserves a special attention. The project "The Address of Tolerance is Azerbaijan" helped to restore dozens of historical, architectural and religious monuments such as mosques, churches, synagogues, open education center for Jewish children in Baku in the regions.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation also assisted in the restoration of stained glass windows of the Strasbourg Cathedral, monuments at the Palace of Versailles, churches in different regions of France, the Berlin Castle, the Roman catacombs, and precious folios kept in the Vatican Library.
In recognition of her merits, Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded a number of prestigious awards such as the Ruby Cross, the highest order of the international charitable fund "The Patrons of the Century", and the Golden Heart award for large-scale charity activities. She is also the Officer Class of the National Order of Legion of Honor of the French Republic, the Grand Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, the World Health Organization’s Award and a number of other top international awards, honorary diploma of the State of Kuwait and etc.
"Mehriban is highly regarded on the international arena. Thanks to her activities, she was awarded the highest state awards and medals of many countries. In addition, for more than ten years, Mehriban Aliyeva is the Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO. There is no second person, who is an ambassador to both respected organizations", said President Aliyev.
Mehriban Aliyeva has tremendous experience as the organizer of globally acknowledged events. This includes the high-level international song contest Eurovision-2012, the First European Games, continental and world championships in gymnastics. This year, she will be responsible for the organization of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, which is the recognition of Mehriban Aliyeva’s merits by the international Olympic movement.
All of these activities served as a basis for the president to appoint Mehriban Aliyeva as the First Vice-President of Azerbaijan. In addition to her personal qualities and merits, President Aliyev also took into account the public preferences. After all, the merits are determined by public preferences anyway. Therefore, the appointment of the First lady to a high public office is not a surprise for the population. Observations and social measurements always show that Mehriban Aliyeva is the second most popular public figure after the president. She is acknowledged at the same level of popularity on the international arena. "In fact, Mehriban Aliyeva is the second degree political figure of Azerbaijan on the international political arena," says an expert on the Caucasus, Doctor of Political Sciences Artur Atayev. He added that the very purpose Aliyeva for such high office demonstrates to all interested parties the independence of the Azerbaijani policy.
Given that Azerbaijan has granted women the right to vote earlier than in Europe, the recent appointment is yet another demonstration of active participation of women in the government.
Most experts believe that the Vice-President will have more opportunities to solve public problems, in particular, assisting the president in public affairs. The institution of vice presidency serves this very objective and should contribute to strengthening the vertical of executive power and to create more effective mechanism for governance.
"Establishment of the position of vice president is dictated by the objectives of ensuring improvement of the presidential form of government in Azerbaijan, its adequacy to modern challenges, optimum functionality governance mechanism in cases of force majeure, it is the expansion of the scope of economic reforms and acceleration. The new institution also clarifies the mechanism of executive powers of the President of Azerbaijan, government insured against risks of being paralyzed," said in his interview with Sputnik-Azerbaijan Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan on socio-political affairs Ali Hasanov just before the referendum on constitutional amendments. According to him, the authorities are preparing the ground for a "profound economic transformation."
Given the existing geopolitical challenges, the strengthening of the central government will help to insure the country from the likelihood of violations of internal stability. This is especially true in an environment when Azerbaijan has to liberate the occupied territories by Armenia.
In short, the appointment of Mehriban Aliyeva as the First Vice-President of Azerbaijan will further consolidate power, deepen the socio-economic reforms and strengthen social and political stability in the country.
"We are proud to be able to make at least a little contribution to the development of Azerbaijan in recent years and to the ongoing positive trends, as well as the improvement of Azerbaijan's authority on the international arena. I believe that regardless of position, any person choosing his life path and profession must be faithful to any job, and must set clear goals, must try to make sure that his words comply to his deeds," said Mehriban Aliyeva thanking the President and the Security Council for their confidence in her. She assured that she would put the interests of our country and our people above all trying to be worthy of Azerbaijan.
As the President said, “a new period” begins in the life of Mehriban Aliyeva. The experts believe that this will also be a new period in the life of Azerbaijan.