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Azerbaijan backs presidential mandate extension

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Azerbaijan backs presidential mandate extension


More than 90 percent of voters in Azerbaijan have backed a constitutional amendment lifting the country’s two-term presidential limit.

Official preliminary results suggested 92.2 percent of voters backed the amendment, with ballots counted at more than 50 percent of polling stations. A definitive yes vote would give 47-year-old President Ilham Aliyev the chance to rule the oil-rich ex-Soviet republic for life. It would also cement the family’s dynastic legacy – Aliyev’s father Heydar was President before him. Azerbaijan sits at a crucial crossroads between Russia and Iran, on a transit route for oil from the Caspian Sea to the West. Its fortunes have soared in recent years, mainly thanks to the development of the oil industry. Despite an opposition call for a boycott of the vote, officials reported a strong turnout of close to 70 percent of the electorate. Baku says it is committed to democracy, but human rights groups disagree.

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