Alwaght- The election in the Central Asia and Caucasus takes place like many other places around the world. But except for Armenia, in other countries of this region the presidents extend their ruling for consecutive terms under the cover of holding new elections. As if the power transition in these republics makes no sense despite holding the elections.
The power circulation in Azerbaijan is more familial than any other nation in the Caucasus and the Central Asia. Recently Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev has appointed his wife Mehriban Aliyeva as first vice president of the country.
President Aliyev's appointment order does not contain a specific elaboration on the duties of the 52-year-old new first vice president, but according to the Azerbaijani constitution, the vice president represents the head of state at home when he is out of the country for foreign trips.
The country’s constitution does not give considerable powers to the vice president, however, giving the post of first vice president to the president’s wife practically means that Azerbaijan faster than ever is moving towards making power dynastic in the so-called republic.
Record of Azerbaijan inter-family power transition
Since its independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991 through June 1993, Azerbaijan witnessed three presidents in office. But since coup of Hayder Aliyev, Ilham Aliyev’s father, in 1993, up to now the power circulated in the hands of Aliyev family.
The current Azerbaijani president a month after his father’s death held a presidential election the result of which was already announced, declaring himself the next leader of the country. At the time, the Washington Post reported that during the 2003 presidential election, the ruling New Azerbaijan Party before holding the election had announced that its candidate's voter percentage was 75 percent and the same percentage was confirmed for Ilham Aliyev after the election to announce him winner.
The Aliyev family does not rule the country only with a monopoly of the political power. Rather, the family has had an unchallenged control over other factors of power like media, economy, and oil industry in the past 23 years of political power grasp.
The 11-year-old son of the president owns a couple of commercial towers and trading companies in Dubai, the UAE. Arzu and Leyla Aliyev, both of them daughters of the president, are said to own property worth of over $75 million. The financial corruption of the family has reached to an extent that Ilham Aliyev was chosen in 2012 as the corruption's “person of the year.”
On the way to dynastic rule
The appointment of President Ilham Aliyev’s wife as first vice president of the country comes while last year Azerbaijan held a general referendum on some constitutional amendments, adding the first vice president post to the government. The post is said to be a guarantee for power transition in case the president is unable to do his duties.
Additionally, the 2016 constitutional referendum increased the presidential term from five years to seven years. The two-term limit for president had already been lifted in 2009.
The critics accuse the Azerbaijani government of human rights violations and suppression of the opposition. They say that the new Aliyev's appointment marks a new step toward forming a hereditary government in the country.
At the present time, a large number of the opposition leaders and critical journalists are put in jail. The Islamist political parties and movements in this predominantly Shiite country are now under heavy pressures of the security forces that restrict holding their religious ceremonies in the country.
Phuket news, an Azerbaijani news agency, reported last year that the Special State Protection Service (SSPS), a special police force operating directly under President Aliyev, along with Azerbaijan National Guard, ordinary police forces, and the prosecution service forces attacked Nardaran, a suburb area of the capital Baku, following a week of cutting off the power, water, and energy supply. The attack targeted Imam Hussein's Arbaeen ceremony, killing five people and wounding and arresting dozens of others.