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The legislature of the Republic of Azerbaijan is the National Assembly (Milli Məclis, Assembly). The Assembly has a unicameral structure and is constituted by 125 members of parliament (MPs), elected for a five-year term.[1]

The Assembly’s rules of procedure are set by the Internal Regulation of the Assembly.[2] Neither the Constitution nor the Internal Regulation include a procedure whereby the powers of the Assembly can be delegated to an ad hoc body, such as an “emergency parliament.” Moreover, the Internal Regulation does not include a rule whereby an MP can delegate his or her vote to a proxy.

Eighty-three MPs constitute a quorum for the Assembly’s plenary session, where all legislative acts are adopted.[3] The Internal Regulation does not provide for a procedure for remotely participating or voting in the plenary session of the Assembly; for the adoption of any decision or act by the Assembly, MPs must be physically present for voting in either one of the open or closed ballot procedures provided by the Internal Regulations.[4] MPs are expected to be physically present in all Assembly meetings, and an unexcused absence is subject to disciplinary proceedings.[5]

Nevertheless, on March 18, 2020, the Speaker of the National Assembly issued a decision establishing, among others, the following measures:

  • Suspension of the physical meetings of all committees and commissions of the Assembly and the administrative staff of the Assembly, authorizing these to manage their affairs via remote means such as telephone or internet
  • Suspension of all visits of MPs and their staff members to foreign countries
  • Suspension of the reception of citizens on the premises of the Assembly
  • Requesting the staff of MPs to receive requests from constituents only via remote means and not have physical contact
  • Ordering the chief of the administrative staff to provide flexible work schedules or leave for women employees with young children and employees who have relatives with respiratory diseases or are otherwise in need of assistance
  • Ordering administrative staff not to leave workspaces and not to have social contact with other persons during work hours unless necessary.[6]

On March 18, the Press Service of the Assembly reported that the Assembly’s Committee of Culture had met via an online system to discuss amendments to laws and the preparation of a work plan.[7] On March 24, the Press Service reported that pursuant to the Speaker’s March 18 decision, three online information exchange groups had been created to maintain communication between the Speaker’s office and the chairpersons of the parliamentary committees, leaders of the political parties represented in the Assembly, and the responsible officers of the administrative staff of the Assembly.[8]

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Prepared by Kayahan Cantekin
Foreign Law Specialist
March 2020

[1] Constitution of Azerbaijan (adopted Nov. 12, 1995, effective Nov. 27, 1995, as amended) arts. 81-84.

[2] Internal Regulation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Azerbaijan (adopted by Law No. 74-IQ, May 17, 1996, as amended), (in Azerbaijani).

[3] Id. art. 3(1).

[4] Id. arts. 25-26.

[5] Id. arts. 1(3), 45(3).

[6] Decision of the Speaker of the National Assembly, No. 05-VI (Mar. 18, 2020), (in Azerbaijani).

[7] Press Release, National Assembly, Mədəniyyət komitəsinin iclasinda (Mar. 18, 2020), (in Azerbaijani).

[8] Press Release, National Assembly, Milli Məclisdə internet üzərindən informasiya mübadiləsi qrupları yaradılmışdır (Mar. 24, 2020), (in Azerbaijani).

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Last Updated: 12/30/2020