This week Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev appointed his wife Mehriban as the first vice president of the country — the person next in line in the nation’s power hierarchy.
Ilham Aliyev, 55 named his wife Mehriban, 52, to the position created after a constitutional referendum in September. Mehriban, who married her husband when she was 19, graduated from a medical university. She has served previously as a lawmaker and headed a charity, the UNESCO goodwill ambassador.
The constitutional amendments approved at the referendum introduced the positions of two vice presidents, one of them the first vice president.
Explaining his decision the President said his wife is “a professional, experienced and principled person, and a humanist”.
Negotiations on the new agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan have been launched earlier this month, following the visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Brussels on 6 February. The new agreement will follow the principles endorsed in the 2015 review of the European neighbourhood policy and offer a renewed basis for political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan. The EU is Azerbaijan’s main trading partner, accounting for around 42.4% of Azerbaijan’s total trade. The EU imports from Azerbaijan chiefly consist of mineral fuels – oil and gas, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and food and live animals.