BAKU, Azerbaijan—Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev appointed his wife Mehriban Aliyeva as the first Vice-President of the state on February 21.
The president’s order was announced during his meeting with the Security Council, according to Azerbaijan’s presidential press service. The appointment comes about five months after the country’s constitutional referendum, extending the Azerbaijani president’s term from five to seven years, and introducing two vice presidential positions.
Critics of the regime say the September 2016 referendum guarantees a dynastic rule.
The first vice president would take on the role of president the president is unable to perform his or her duties.
Aliyeva, 52, was appointed Member of Parliament in 2008 and is the deputy chairperson of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party. She also heads the Heydar Aliyev Fund, a nongovernmental organization named after her father-in-law, who ruled the newly independent Azerbaijan from 1993 until his death in 2003. Ilham Aliyev succeeded in presidency, who has been widely criticized in the West for the human rights abuses across the country and abroad.
“Embassy monitors, who have attended nearly every session over the past year, have never seen her present in Parliament,” reads a part of a 2010 WikiLeaks document.
According to the leaks, “When she received Members of Congress in 2008, she appeared poorly informed about political issues and could only respond knowledgeably about issues relating to the Heydar Aliyev Fund.”