Azerbaijan President appoints wife as VP

Baku, Feb 21 (IANS) Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday appointed his wife as his first Vice President, just five months after creating the post in an executive decree that amended the Constitution.

Aliyev, 55, who has been president since taking over from his father Heydar Aliyev in 2003, made the announcement on the official presidency website, Efe news reported.

First Lady and new first Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva, 52, is a qualified doctor who since 2005 has held a parliamentary role.

Mehriban’s ascension to the post was made possible by the constitutional alterations made by the President in September 2016.

The President also abolished the prerequisite minimum age for a presidential candidate, which had been 35.

Mehriban became a designated Unesco goodwill ambassador in 2004 due to her work in the field of preservation and development of folk literature and music heritage in Azerbaijan, reports Xinhua news agency.

She is also a member of Parliament and President of the country’s gymnastics federation.