Establishment of Parliament
The Law on the Establishment of the Parliament
Officially the legislative power - the legal foundations of the establishment of the provisional parliament (Mejlisi-Mesuban) of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan - was confirmed by the law «On the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan» adopted by the National Council of Azerbaijan on November 20, 1918. Till the formation of the parliament, the National Council, the highest executive power, conveyed its authorities to the legislative body and declared the termination of its activities.
Since the declaration of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan the National Council immediately tried to form independent legislative, judicial and executive institutions proceeding from the principle of the division of powers, prevented the birth of the political crisis by conveying the legislative and executive powers to the Azerbaijan Government in the June of 1918. The second important task facing the government was to hold elections to the Assembly of Enterprises of Azerbaijan and to ensure the execution of all the necessary activities for strengthening the democraric state no later than six months, that is, no later than December 16, 1918. The government set up a commission under the presidency of F. Kh. Khoiskiy for holding elections to the all-Azerbaijan Assembly of Enterprises on September 14, 1918. The chairman of the commission together with the ministries of Interior and Education had to develop the election code of the Assembly of Enterprises. The termination of the World War I demanded to speed up the activities aimed at the recognition of Azerbaijan in the international arena and at the formation of a delegation by the legitimate body country to represent it. In the new situation the commission on the elections to the Assembly of Enterprises proposed the formation of the provisional parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The first sitting of the commission held on November 5, 1918, decided that it was impossible to hold the elections to the Assembly of Enterprises till the appointed time (December 16, 1918), and therefore, it was necessary to соnvene the session to the provisional parliament of Azerbaijan with the participation representatives of the previous parliament on «an improved system». The Azerbaijan Government resolved in November 9, 1918, to hold the sitting of the National Сouncil on November 16, 1918. A special соmission was set up for determining the composition of the provisional parliament and for developing the law on elections.
The sitting of the National Council held on November 16, 1918, resolved that it was impossible to convene the sitting of the Assembly of Enterprises in the existing state of emergency; therefore, it
developed the law «On the Formation of the Azerbaijan Parliament» and adopted it in the November of the same year. As the composition of the National Assembly did not meet the democratic demands, it was decided to hold a secret ballot election to one-chamber parliament. Concrete steps were being taken to normalize the critical social and political, social and economic situation in the country, to achieve the rapid formation of a parliament composed of the representatives of all the layers of population and minorities. The law on the parliament praiseworthy as a political-legal document which served a legal basis for holding elections.
Taking into account the extreme situation in the country the National Assembly decided to set up the provisional parliament of Azerbaijan by the way of co-optation, that is, by not holding general elections, on the basis of limited election rules, from the representatives of localities. It provided the formation of the legislative body of the country of 120 members from the representatives of the territorial-administrative entities. This principle of division of powers allowed the identification of the borders of Azerbaijan and ensured the participation of all the regions in the election. The law ensured the participation of all Azerbaijan citizens with suffrage in the elections, irrespective of their political conviction, social status, religion and nationality. The firm political position of the members of the National Council led to the formation of a democratic parliament. The Armenians, hostile to the birth of the national government, supporters of the Russian Empire, British Military Command not eager to recognize the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan could not obstacle its formation.
The law on the first republican parliament determined the national composition of the parliament like the following: Moslems-80, Armenians-21, Russians-10, Germans-1, Jews-1, Georgian National Council-1, Baku Trade Unions-3, Baku Council of Oil Industrialists and Commercial Industrial Council-2.
According to the Third Clause of the Electoral Regulations the number of the Azerbaijan and Armenian members of the parliament was to be elected from the administrative-territorial entities in the following number: Moslems-80 (Baku-5, Goychay-2, district of Javad-2, town of Guba-1, district of Lenkaran-2, district of Shamakhi-2, district of Genje-2, district of Eresh-2, district of Javanshir-1, district of Zengezur-2, district of Gazakh-1, district of Jebrail-1, district of Nukha-2, district of Shusha-2, district of Zagatala-2, from the Azerbaijan part of Irevan (Yerevan) gubernia-3, from the Azerbaijan part of Tiflis (Tbilisi) gubernia-1). The Armenian population to be represented in the parliament: Genje-8, Shusha-8, Baku Armenian National Committee-5.
Forty-four members of the National Council formed the main body of the first Azerbaijan Parliament. Thus, in the elections to the Russian Assembly of Enterprises held on November 26-28, 1917, «Musavat» Party won 10, Moslem-»Socialists»-2, «Ittihad»ists-1, Bolshevik-»Hummet»ists-l seat. When the Transcaucasian Seim (parliament) was formed, it was decided to multiply the number of the elected members proportionally thrice. In conformity with that resolution the number of the parliamentarians in the Seim was: «Musavat»-30, «Moslem Socialists»-7, Bolsheviks-4, «Ittihad»ists-3, totally-44. Additionally 36 Moslem parliamentarians were elected from towns and districts. In districts without self-administration and national committees the parliamentarians were elected by the congress of the local communities. Thus, the Azerbaijan Parliament before the National Council consisted of the following number of parliamentarians elected on the system given below: a) 44 parliamentarians according to the lists of four Moslem political parties of the Transcaucasus elected to the Russian Assembly of Enterprises, who then became the members of the Transcaucasian Seim on the basis of the enlarged list and represented the Azerbaijan National Council; b) representatives elected by the authorized national organizations of the national minorities; c) representatives of self-administration of the towns of Azerbaijan and the National Committee of Moslems; d) representatives of industrialists and merchants.
Despite all this pressures, a great event took place in the history of Azerbaijan on December 7, 1918. Thus, the parliament of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan was opened by the congratulatory and inaugurating speech of the chairman of the National Council M. E. Rasulzadeh in the building of N. Z. Taghiyev's school for girls. The inauguration session was participated by all the members of the Cabinet of Ministers headed by F. Kh. Khoiskiy. The fraction of «Musavat» Party proposed to elect Alimerdan bey Topchubashov chairman of the parliament, Hasan bey Agayev - vice chairman. Non - partisan professional lawyer A. Topchubashov was absent in the parliament for being abroad on a diplomatic mission and other state affairs. The first sessions of the parliament laid the foundations of the parliamentarianism of Azerbaijan; and the youngest member of the legislative body Rahim bey Vekilov was elected its secretary.
The Cabinet of Ministers headed by F. Kh. Khoiskiy resigned wholly in the parliament. The internal regulations of the Parliament were developed on the basis of the internal regulations of the Russian Duma (parliament). A consultative council was set up in the parliament which consisted of the chairman, first vice-chairman and members of fractions. The first sessions of the parliament elected the mandate and economic commissions and determined its regulations. The statements of fractions disclosed the principles and programs of their future activities. They called for the protection of the independence of all the fractions and for ensuring the democratic administration in the country Sh. Rustambeyov (fraction of «Musavat»), A. Safikurdsky (fraction of «Socialists»), Z. Vezirov (fraction of «Ittihad»), Moisey Gukhman (fraction of the national minorities, representative of the Jews), were elected to the mandate commission; M.Y. Jafarov (fraction of «Musavat»), A. Garabeyli (fraction of «Ittihad»), Vasili Kravchenko (fraction of the Slav-Russian Union) – to the regulations commission; A. Kazim-zade (fraction of «Musavat»), H. Mammadbeyli (fraction of «Ittihad»), N. Tskhakaya (fraction of the national minorities, representative of the Georgians) - to the econmic commission. The next sessions of the parliament elected the financial-budgetary, workers, legislative proposals, editorial, military affairs, agrarian, enquiry commission; as well as the commissions for the utilization of the productive forces of the country and convening the assemblies of enterprises.
State Archives of the Republic of Azerbaijan, backlog 895, register 3, file 7, pp. 1-2.