The Quest for Political Reform in Azerbaijan: What Role for the Transatlantic Community?
As Azerbaijan celebrates its 20th anniversary of independence, democratic development remains a key challenge facing the country. Despite the fact that Azerbaijan successfully coped with immediate problems such as poverty reduction and economic and political stability, the need to reform the public administration and decentralize governance has become particularly urgent. The main problems, however, remain the same: low public trust in institutions, the absence of a democratic political culture and the lack of bridging social capital. In this regard, the assistance of the Transatlantic Community is necessary. The European Union and the United States should pursue a developmental approach to democracy promotion in Azerbaijan, which has higher chances to succeed than a more explicitly political approach, considering the weak institutional capacity in the country.
Revised version of a paper presented at the seminar on "Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Azerbaijan: what role for the Transatlantic Community?", Rome, 14 February 2012. Paper produced within the framework of the project "Azerbaijan, Caucasus and the EU: Towards Close Cooperation? ".
1. Low trust in government institutions
2. Local self-government and absence of decentralization
3. Low social capital and the weakness of civil society
4. Lessons for the Transatlantic Community: what could be done?