President Ilham Aliyev`s economic development strategy lies at the heart of our national development
Q: First of all we would like to learn your opinion about Azerbaijan`s rapid socio-economic development in the past year.
A: Thanks to President Ilham Aliyev`s policy Azerbaijan has experienced great development in the past 11 years. This period saw our gross domestic product rapidly develop, poverty level reduce 10 times, over million jobs have been created. Socio-economic development marked, first of all, the improvement of the people`s social welfare. Azerbaijan`s rapid economic development defined many important parameters of the economic model of our country.
Therefore the measures taken in the past year materialized in institutional reforms and further strengthening of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has considerably increased its role and improved its reputation on the global scale thanks to socio-political stability, economic development and power.
Q: Fundamental reforms are carried out in all spheres of life in Azerbaijan. We would like you to highlight reforms in healthcare system, particularly introduction of compulsory medical insurance.
A: The implementation of compulsory medical insurance in Azerbaijan is planned within the health care reform framework. Like in most countries, in our country too, the application of compulsory medical insurance has been accepted as a positive step.
The society believes that transition to compulsory medical insurance will be the most effective step towards improving the quality of healthcare services. Reforms are carried out in all areas in Azerbaijan. The living standard is being improved. All this requires high-quality healthcare services.
The necessity of shifting to compulsory medical insurance was stipulated in the Law on Medical Insurance of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Serious reforms have been carried out in this sphere. First of all, I would like to note the modernization of eth healthcare infrastructure. State-of-the-art healthcare facilities, hospitals, clinics are being built and fitted with state-of-the-art equipment. Health indicators of the population have improved, child mortality has decreased, and average living age increased.
Transition to compulsory medical insurance will change the philosophy of healthcare services. Proper provision of quality healthcare to citizens, the financing of the healthcare system in a proper manner is the key priority for the Azerbaijani government. And the application of compulsory medical insurance is considered one of the most effective ways of improving the quality of healthcare system.
Q: How would you characterize socio-political situation in the country in 2014?
A: Economy is the main factor characterizing the socio-economic stability in Azerbaijan. As I have already said Azerbaijan is rapidly developing, and maintained its economic growth rate in 2014. Azerbaijan`s economic situation, improvement of social welfare guaranteed the people`s approval of the government`s policy. And this is the crucial factor conditioning the socio-political stability. Another factor guaranteeing socio-political stability in our country is Azerbaijan`s growing political power and increasing strength. In just 23 years of independence Azerbaijan has become a powerful, independent country, which enjoys international respect. Our country successfully completed its membership and chairmanship of the United Nations Security Council, and presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. These are remarkable events for Azerbaijan`s diplomacy. At the same time, Azerbaijan, particularly Baku has become a cultural center of the world.
Q: The New Azerbaijan Party is the driving political force of Azerbaijan, and it groups representatives of various layers of society. How would you characterize the party`s activity in the past year?
A: The New Azerbaijan Party is the largest political party in Azerbaijan, which enjoys people`s support and confidence. The party achieved this thanks to its policy, which has always been based on national interests.
The New Azerbaijan Party`s coming to power in Azerbaijan marked the beginning of a new political course in the country. The New Azerbaijan Party breathed a fresh air into the country`s political system. It brought civil norms of civil struggle to the country, adding new elements to the society, which ensured the establishment of democratic values and formation of the civil society. The New Azerbaijan Party set an example of how a party should serve the people.
Logical result of YAP`s activities is independent, rapidly developing Azerbaijan. The New Azerbaijan Party has been the country`s driving force since its establishment.
The fact that the party includes more than 640,000 members proves that the people of Azerbaijan are loyal to ideas and principles of national leader Heydar Aliyev and President Ilham Aliyev. Members of the party include activists from all layers of the Azerbaijani society, particularly women and youth.
The past year was very active for the New Azerbaijan Party. The number of our party`s members increased, and its socio-political influence considerably grew. YAP also enhanced its international relations and cooperation with its foreign counterparts and international organizations.
Q: What about YAP`s activity in the context of recent municipal elections?
A: The New Azerbaijan Party was seriously preparing for municipal election.
Being Azerbaijan`s most powerful political force, the New Azerbaijan Party has won all elections it has attended. It`s no coincidence because the party builds its strategy based on ideas of national leader Heydar Aliyev. And this policy is today successfully continued by President Ilham Aliyev.
YAP first created its electoral headquarters in cities and districts. We also attach particular importance to involving youth, women and activists in these processes. We established electoral headquarters in more than eighty districts and cities. We also carried out trainings for our representatives.
We appointed plenipotentiary representatives for the municipal elections. At these elections, our party had a total of more than two hundred plenipotentiary representatives, with two representatives being responsible for each constituency.
And the municipal elections are already over, I believe the results of the elections will be a success for the New Azerbaijan Party. We hope that representatives of our party will be elected to municipalities, and will be closely involved in the work in all districts of the country. We paid great importance to women and youth when we were putting forward our candidates.
Q: Azerbaijan`s growing international influence irritates some anti-Azerbaijani forces. Some foreign think tanks and international organizations have taken a double standard and biased attitude towards Azerbaijan. How would you comment on this?
A: Azerbaijan’s current economic development, its increasing significance for the countries in the region and in the world, high development level of partnership with a number of states and cooperation with international organizations, strategic partnership with the leading countries in the world, its election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, its presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and open expression of its political position on many issues are successes of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy.
Azerbaijan is a rapidly developing country with rich natural resources. Our country accounts for the major part of the South Caucasus` economy. Our international prestige is rapidly growing. Azerbaijan is now the regional leader and an important international actor. Certainly all this irritates some external forces and they have speeded up their anti-Azerbaijani campaign recently.
We particularly see double standard policies of some international organizations and superpowers. This is evidenced by their attitude to internal processes taking place in Azerbaijan and to the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
They make every effort to cast shadow on Azerbaijan`s reputation. But they will never manage to influence either Azerbaijan`s policy or socio-political stability and security in our country. Socio-political stability in Azerbaijan is built on such strong foundations that no force can shake it. And the citizens of Azerbaijan are the main guarantor of this stability.
Q: What are your expectations from 2015?
A: Azerbaijan`s achievements so far under President Ilham Aliyev give us great optimism for the future. I believe that the year 2015 will be very successful, fruitful and advantageous for Azerbaijan. Certainly reforms will be continued in all areas. In general 2015 will be remarkable for Azerbaijan from several points of view.
We will hold parliamentary elections in 2015. And I believe that the New Azerbaijan Party will again emerge victorious in the elections and they will enter the history of Azerbaijan as another democratic triumph.
At the same time Azerbaijan will host the inaugural European Games. The decision to grant these games to Baku is historic and remarkable. This decision testifies to the European community`s confidence in and respect to Azerbaijan. Our country has all capabilities to organize the first European Games in an excellent manner. And we consider these games another opportunity to promote Azerbaijan in the world.
I also believe that the year 2015 will see further socio-economic development in Azerbaijan, and that the people`s welfare will further improve. The government will continue its policy towards diversifying economy and developing the non-oil sector.