Former US ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Kauzlarich has called the appointment of the First Lady of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva to the position of Vice President on February 21 a step towards the development of real monarchy in the country.
Kauzlarich commented on the affair in an interview with Meydan TV:
“This latest news tells me that Azerbaijan has decided on a non-democratic path. This appointment reminds one of a monarchy. In a monarchy, people are appointed to positions not because of their personal merits or traits, but because of their blood ties with the head of state. Those who have been observing these processes from the sideline can easily see this. The Aliyevs had wide-reaching powers even before this step. She is the head of numerous organizations, including the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. This step is move towards the complete concentration of power in just one family’s hands”.
Richard Kauzlarich was outspoken against the recent constitutional referendum that took place in September of last year, which extended the presidential term from 4 to 6.
During an address to the Human Rights Commission of the US Congress on Azerbaijan, he warned that the country would further distance itself from democratic principles if it were to adopt the changes put forward by the constitutional amendments.
In addition to her new position as First Vice President, Mehriban Aliyeva is also the Good Will Ambassador to UNESCO, the president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and a member of parliament.