Azerbaijan’s President, Ilham Aliyev, has appointed his wife as First Vice President of the oil-rich Caspian nation.
The appointment of Mehriban Aliyeva follows after a tightly-managed referendum that allowed for constitutional changes that paved way for the office of First Vice President, the second most senior position in the country.
The 52-year old Aliyeva has been the MP for the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan party since 2005 and head of the influential Heydar Aliyev Foundation, named after her father-in-law and former President.
Meanwhile, the country’s embattled opposition party has angrily criticized Aliyev’s appointment as undemocratic and called it a ploy to cement the Aliyev’s family’s dynasty and tighten the family’s grip on the nation.
“The move throws Azerbaijan back to the medieval, feudal times,” Isa Gambar, the leader of the Musavat opposition party said.