Azerbaijan to vote in March on presidential term

The date of the referendum was set by a 100-7 vote.

Azerbaijan to vote in March on presidential term

Azerbaijan's parliament on Friday called a referendum in March on whether a two-term presidential limit should be approved, a move likely to prolong leader Ilham Aliyev's grip on power.

Parliament, dominated by the pro-government Yeni Azerbaijan (New Azerbaijan) party which is led by Aliyev, voted to hold the vote on March 18 in the oil-producing nation. Aliyev's second and last term allowed by the constitution is due to end in 2013.

Few doubt that Aliyev's presidency will be extended.

"Azerbaijan's nation will openly and freely express its confidence in the country's President Ilham Aliyev," parliamentarian Ali Ahmedov, Yeni Azerbaijan's deputy leader, told the legislature before the vote.

The date of the referendum was set by a 100-7 vote.

The republic, which lies along the Caspian between Russia and Iran, has been dominated by the Aliyev family for more than three decades.

Ilham Aliyev, 47, won his current five-year term in October in a landslide election boycotted by the opposition and judged by European monitors as less than democratic.

Police on Wednesday broke up a rally by a dozen opposition activists, who tried to protest against the referendum outside the Constitutional Court headquarters.

Before being pushed away by police, the protesters briefly unfolded banners reading "Down with the monarchy!" and "We do not need a king!"


Reuters

Last Mod: 26 Aralık 2008, 18:48
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