Azerbaijan strongman appoints wife vice president


The Presidential Administration press service informs that today President Ilham Aliyev has held a meeting of the Security Council of the country.

The Azerbaijani Presidency said in a statement that Aliyeva was appointed to the first-vice presidential post according to the 103rd Article of the Azerbaijani constitution.

The controversial move has also been met with criticism from the country's top journalists, who pointed out the irony in having a president appoint his wife to Azerbaijan's second-highest post.

The couple has been married since 1983 and has three children.

The 55-year-old president had sailed to a third five-year term against limited opposition in 2013, this political victory extended his tenure and made his family surf into a third decade of reign.

"The move throws Azerbaijan back to medieval, feudal times", Isa Gambar, leader of the Musavat party, told the AFP news agency.

President Aliyev and his wife, the newly appointed vice president.

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Born into the powerful Pashayev family, she has sometimes been seen as a possible successor to her husband, who took over in 2003 after the death of his father Heydar Aliyev, a former KGB officer and Communist-era boss.

After growing up in what she describes as a "family of intelligentsia" in Baku, Mehriban studied at the 1st Moscow State Medical Institute.

Mehriban is an eye doctor by training and comes from one of Azerbaijan's wealthiest and most influential families. In such case, until new President of the Azerbaijan Republic is elected, the First Vice-President of the Azerbaijan Republic will carry out powers of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic.

She also has a philosophy and she is a member of the Parliament, the president of a charitable foundation and a UNESCO and ISESCO ambassador.

She pays a lot of attention to luxury and has been featured in Wikileaks' US diplomatic cables.

According to some data published past year by the American press, the First Lady is completely left out from any political issue even though she was an MP since she married Aliyev.