Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev appoints Wife Mehriban Aliyeva as Vice President

Long-time President of the oil-rich, Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, appointed his wife, Mehriban Aliyeva as Vice President on Tuesday.

Aliyev, 55, who has ruled the authoritarian former Soviet republic for more than a decade, made the appointment at a national Security Council meeting, according to a statement on his website.

The position was created in a referendum in September that also widely expanded the president’s power, including enabling him to dissolve parliament at will.

The Aliyevs have been married for three decades. Aliyeva, 52, was elected to be a lawmaker in the federal parliament in 2005.

That was two years after Aliyev became president. He took office after his father – Heydar Aliyev, who had ruled for a decade stepped aside after becoming critically ill in office.

Last year’s referendum also lowered the minimum age for running for parliament to 18, potentially enabling the Aliyevs to groom family members for leadership roles from an earlier age.

Photo Credit: Azerbaijan Presidential Website

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