11 governorates in Azerbaijan - risk to the unity of the state?
A member of the Azerbaijani parliament has put forth a proposal to reform the existing territorial and administrative divisions of the country and create 11 governorates, which would allow for significant budgetary savings.
Opponents, however, warn of the risk it poses to the unity of the state.
Vahid Ahmadov, a member of the Milli Majlis, has proposed a full reform of the territorial and administrative divisions of Azerbaijan. This initiative arose from talks about the planned abolishment of two regions of the city of Ganja, the country’s second-most important city.
Azerbaijan is currently administratively divided into 66 regions, 14 official cities, 14 city districts, 262 towns, 724 municipalities, and 4,246 villages.
According to the MP, maintaining an executive branch and its apparatus in every region places a strain on the country’s budget. He believes this issue can be solved by making larger governorates.
“For example, regions like Quba, Gusar, Khachmaz, Shabran and Siyazan are very close to each other. There’s no need to cut the country up into such small pieces. We can combine them into one governorate, an economic region, a province, call it whatever you want”, says Ahmadov.
The MP proposes to delegate some executive powers to the municipal governments and points to nearby Turkey as an example, where “this system has long since proved its worth”.
The MP’s statements are being discussed by Azerbaijani users of social media, with far from all of them in agreement. Here are a few characteristic comments:
“I think this is a very dangerous idea. Dividing the country into large provinces might lead to risks to the integrity of the state”.
“And what are we going to call these governorates? If it’s just the name of the biggest raion, the other ones will get offended”.
“And have you thought about the problems that people who live far from the centre of the populated places of a governorate are going to face? You really have to think hard about that”.