POLITICS


Charismatic leader having clear vision, plans and programs about his country’s future

Azerbaijan is convincingly moving towards strategic targets under President Ilham Aliyev’s leadership

Baku, April 11, AZERTAC

It has been four years since Ilham Aliyev was reelected as the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The successful political activities during this period have served the sustainable development and progress of the state of Azerbaijan like in previous years.

“We have to look into the future and we are doing so. We have very clear vision, plans and programs about what needs to be done in future. The purpose of all of us is to make our country stronger and turn into a more powerful state and Azerbaijani citizens live better” – these tasks identified by President Ilham Aliyev during his inauguration speech on 18 April 2018 are being successfully implemented and convincing steps are being taken towards the strategic targets ahead.

AZERTAC is taking a look at some characteristics of the road of development that Azerbaijan has passed over the past four years and decisive factors that ensured our successes.

Azerbaijani people gave the highest appreciation to the successes achieved under President Ilham Aliyev’s leadership at the presidential election on 11 April 2018. According to the results of the eighth election for the post of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev gained a sweeping victory by winning 86,02% of votes. The past four years, which were characteristic of historic events and dynamic social and economic growth, have proved again that the voters are right in their choice and the political consciousness of the people of Azerbaijan is well developed.

The transparent, just and free election reflected the will of the people. The coincidence of the results of public opinion polls and exit polls conducted by international organizations with the official results of the election and positive international feedback are all a vivid example of this.

A member of the UK Parliament, Lord David Charles, stressed that the presidential election was organized very well and said: “The turnover of voters is very high. We have been to several polls. The process is going on in line with the law and in a democratic atmosphere. This gives us ground to say that the presidential election in Azerbaijan has been organized perfectly”.

By voting for President Ilham Aliyev in 2018, the people of Azerbaijan voted for the democratic changes and the policy of revolutionary reforms in the country.

The economic progress and the sociopolitical and socioeconomic foundation made under the leadership of the head of state paved the way for strengthening the country’s military might. Eventually, all this was transformed into the historic victory, which resulted in the liberation of our lands from occupation and restoration of our territorial integrity. Our people united around their president as strongly as the “iron fist” to make a turning point in their future fate. The wise people trusted their President and army and were mobilized from the very first days of the war to achieve the great victory. The 44-day war resulted in the restoration of our territorial integrity thanks to the diplomatic and strategic steps taken by the victorious Commander-in-Chief, President Ilham Aliyev, the strength of the glorious Azerbaijani army and the unity of our people. The unity of the people and the Commander-in-Chief was the basis of the glorious march of our army. We ensured the triumph of justice by driving the enemy out of our historic lands.

The Declaration signed on 10 November 2020 opened up vast opportunities to ensure the political and economic sovereignty of Azerbaijan and fully utilize the existing economic potential of the territories liberated from occupation for the benefit of our people.

President Ilham Aliyev, who pursues a pragmatic policy, has built the post-war agenda of Azerbaijan in line with the new realities and challenges. Karabakh, liberated from occupation, is being swiftly reconstructed and life is coming back to those places. The necessary infrastructure is being created in the territories cleaned from mines. These territories have been announced a zone of “green energy”. The implementation of projects of smart town and smart village in Zangilan district, the preparation of master plans of our liberated towns and other similar activities give confidence that Karabakh will turn into a paradise in the nearest future.

In recent years, our country has covered a long road of development, the foundations of the state of Azerbaijan have been seriously strengthened and the economic power of our government has risen. The human factor, the prosperity of the people and the national interests have become the strategic priorities of the government policy.

The 15 years before the election of 2018 entered into our history as a period of splendid economic growth. Saying that “only countries with strong economies can pursue an independent policy”, President Ilham Aliyev has continuously acted as an initiator of economic reforms. As a result, the gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 3,2 times and budget revenues increased by 13,5 times in 2003-2018. The strategic currency reserves rose by 26,6 times and our financial capacities significantly improved. The foreign trade turnover increased by 4,6 times and the volume of exports rose sixfold. GDP rose in the regions by 3,6 times. The nominal income of the population increased by 8,6 times, the minimum wages by 12,9 times, the number of people making visits abroad by 2,2 times and the deposits of people in banks by 30 times. A total of 1,958,400 jobs were created and 326,600 people received targeted social aid. The level of unemployment was brought down from 9,2% to 5% and the poverty line was decreased from 44,7% to 5,4%. A total of 245,000 internally displaced people were provided with apartments.

In 2003-2018, the wages increased by about 7 times and pensions rose by more than 10 times. The social infrastructure grew, as more than 3100 schools and more than 640 hospitals were either built or repaired. A total of 43 Olympic sports centers were constructed in the regions. These figures show that the social policy is always in focus. As a logical result of all this, we can say that the people of Azerbaijan voted for the sustainable development and political stability four years ago.

Announcing a new wave of reforms during his inauguration speech on 18 April 2018, our head of state said: “We will carry out very serious reforms and deepen the reforms in the coming years. I am confident that the living conditions of our citizens will be improved more”.

President Ilham Aliyev has taken significant steps in the social areas, as well like in many other directions. The decrees and orders, which experts regard as being socially revolutionary decisions, covered almost all the layers of the population. The allowances to the families of martyrs, internally displaced people, students and persons with disability, the minimum wages and pensions were increased. The package of social reforms, which were successfully implemented, created opportunities to seriously improve the wellbeing of millions of citizens.

The first decree that President Ilham Aliyev signed after the reelection was on making a one-off payment of 11,000 manats to the heirs of martyrs. Another decree dated 28 January 2019 expanded the list of heirs of martyrs who are eligible to receiving the one-off payments.

Under the decisions, which demonstrate that the revolutionary steps taken by the head of state in the social life of the country have become continuous, the minimum pensions and minimum wages were increased by 40% over the past period. The order dated 25 February 2019 doubled the social allowances and pensions to about 600,000 people, including 300,000 people with disability. In addition, monthly presidential benefits were established for people from certain categories. Another order increased the monthly allowances to internally displaced persons and people equal to them by 50%, which played a significant role in improving the wellbeing of more than 500,000 internally displaced persons. The benefits of up to 110,000 students were also significantly increased.

Another step, which proves that the President of Azerbaijan pursues a socially oriented policy based on the principles of humanism and he is always besides every Azerbaijani citizen, was the decree to resolve the issues concerning problematic bank loans of more than 800,000 people.

Naturally, our head of state made important decisions to protect the health of our citizens and resolve their social problems during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was a trial for the entire world. A social package of several billion manats helped the people, including those who had informal jobs or were jobless and the private sector, which were affected by the pandemic. In addition, module-type hospitals were constructed to treat people infected with COVID, the wages of doctors treating such people were increased and other steps were taken.

The ongoing overall attitude towards vulnerable social groups during the continuous reforms in the social sphere makes itself felt in the decisions made by the head of state. Strengthening the social protection of people from vulnerable groups is one of the key directions of President Ilham Aliyev’s policy. The new decrees and orders signed by the head of state at the end of last year, besides being another important step in this direction, has positively affected the social wellbeing and family budgets of more than 1,2 million people. Moreover, the allowances for those people who took part in the military operations for the liberation of our lands and were disabled when being on military service and in other special circumstances were again increased by about 50% on the average.

In 2021, the Azerbaijani President made important decisions to eliminate the consequences of the war. The implementation of significant projects started to ensure speedy return to the liberated territories. The announcement of a big social package in 2022 against the background of infrastructure projects and other restoration programs, which require large amounts of financing, is another example of the care of our head of state for citizens from vulnerable social groups.

Ilham Aliyev, who was reelected not with slogans, but with the trust of the citizen, whose every word and statement leave a deep trace in the memory of the people and whose every decision makes great changes in the fate of the people, is building a literally new Azerbaijan: an unbeatable, always growing and flourishing Azerbaijan, which is a source of pride for its citizens.

The position and reputation of our country in the international arena have become very strong in recent years. The successful implementation of the domestic policy has been observed with a similar tendency in the foreign policy over the past four years, as well. The foreign policy and results-oriented diplomatic steps under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev have created a favorable condition for Azerbaijan to speak more decisively from the high tribunes of the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, NATO and all other reputable international organizations and make the international community respect its opinion on many issues. We can see the benefits of the independent and constructive policy pursued by the President of Azerbaijan in every political decision and our daily life despite the negative developments and ongoing wars and conflicts in most countries of the world. Today the citizen of Azerbaijan lives, creates and builds a happy future in a stable and growing country where his or her safety is protected. Our country is recognized in the world as a place of political stability, tranquility, progress and tolerance. As the head of state put it himself, the Azerbaijani youth are not in the streets and disorders, but are gaining rich knowledge in homes of science and are building a healthy future for themselves.

The successful chairmanship of Azerbaijan at the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States is also an important issue. It is the result of the logical steps of President Ilham Aliyev that Azerbaijan is turning into a reality what once seemed to be a dream. Thus, bringing into the spotlight the geographic unity and solidarity of Turkic speaking countries at a very sensitive time in the world required decisiveness and bravery. It is the result of the simultaneous actions taken by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan, who have managed to carry out this complicated and important historic mission, in recent years that serious progress has been achieved in strengthening friendship, fraternity and cooperation between Turkic speaking countries and peoples. As the high appreciation of this activity, on 12 November 2021, President Ilham Aliyev was awarded the Supreme Order of the Turkic World for his efforts to liberate Karabakh and his contributions to the strengthening of the Turkic unity.

Now, Azerbaijan’s role as an energy supplier of Europe indicates that our country is a reliable partner. Abiding by its commitment, Azerbaijan put into commissioning the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which is the last segment of the Southern Gas Corridor project, shortly after the war. Those countries which are not involved in the Southern Gas Corridor project, now see the TAP’s vital importance and express their intention to join it. This is the logical result of President Ilham Aliyev’s wise and farsighted policy and formation of Azerbaijan’s positive image.

Finally, if we have a look at President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Brussels on 6 April 2022, his meeting with the President of the Council of the European Union, Charles Michel, and the Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinian, and the results achieved, we can say that the expectations of the head of state have been fully justified. The Brussels format of the talks is indicative of President Aliyev’s great reputation in the world, besides being another success of the consecutive and purposeful policy and diplomacy to ensure our national interests.

Hikmat Ahmadov

Leading correspondent of AZERTAC

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