Is There a Legal Basis for Holding Early Parliamentary Elections in Azerbaijan?

Today, the Plenum of the Constitutional Court reviewed President Ilham Aliyev's request regarding the constitutionality of dissolving the Milli Majlis and calling early elections, following the Parliament's resolution on June 21, 2024, "On an appeal to the President of Azerbaijan on the appointment of early elections."

Chairman of the Constitutional Court, Farhad Abdullayev, announced the court's decision, affirming the constitutionality of the Parliament's resolution. The court declared that the June 21 resolution and the subsequent dissolution of the Milli Majlis by the President are consistent with Article 981 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan. The resolution is final and takes immediate effect, with no possibility for cancellation, amendment, or official reinterpretation.

The Milli Majlis had appealed to the President on June 21 to call early parliamentary elections, following a proposal by the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party (YAP) during a June 20 meeting. YAP suggested advancing the elections due to the upcoming international events in November, the original month scheduled for the elections.

Hafiz Hasanov, chairman of the Public Association "Law and Development," discussed the issue in the "Difficult Question" program. Hasanov argued that the YAP's appeal to the Milli Majlis to dissolve Parliament was primarily a political decision rather than a legal one.

According to Article 981 of the Azerbaijani Constitution, the President can dissolve the Milli Majlis under specific conditions: if the same convocation of the Milli Majlis expresses no confidence in the Cabinet of Ministers twice within a year, fails to appoint the necessary candidates for the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and the Central Bank after two presidential submissions, or for unavoidable reasons, does not fulfill its duties as specified in articles 94, 95, parts II, III, IV, and V of Article 96, and Article 97.

"International events cannot serve as a basis for the dissolution of the Milli Majlis," Hasanov explained. "However, the Constitutional Court considered the dissolution of the Milli Majlis in connection with the holding of COP 29 in accordance with Article 981 of the Constitution."

The legal and political dimensions of this decision reflect the intricate interplay of power and procedure in Azerbaijan's governance. While the Constitutional Court's ruling affirms the legal basis for early elections, the motivations and implications of such a move remain subjects of debate, highlighting the broader context of political maneuvering and administrative control.

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