The preparation of a new constitution to replace the 1978
document (which had been based on the 1977 Soviet constitution)
began in 1992, but adoption has been repeatedly delayed by civil
and political turmoil. Pending the adoption of a new
constitution, the fundamental document in the early 1990s was the
October 18, 1991, Act of Independence, which government
authorities have described as the basis for a new constitution.
Meanwhile, the provisions of the 1978 constitution are valid if
they do not violate or contradict the Act of Independence. The
act declares that Azerbaijan is a secular, democratic, and
unitary state, with equality of all citizens before the law.
Freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and other international human rights documents are upheld, and
the right to form political parties is stipulated. The Act of
Independence also proclaims Azerbaijan's territorial integrity
and its sovereignty over all its territory. In October 1993, the
Melli-Majlis revised the existing constitution of 1978,
anticipating its retention for the time being. Finally deleted
were the document's many references to "Soviet" and "communist"
institutions and philosophy.
Data as of March 1994