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Azerbaijan becomes a dynasty

March 27, 2005 at 1:44 PM

BAKU, Azerbaijan, March 27 (UPI) -- The ruling party in Azerbaijan has elected President Ilham Aliyev as its leader.

The Yeni Azerbaijan party confirmed Aliyev's election late Saturday.

Aliyev was made president in October 2003, succeeding his father, Haydar Aliyev, in the first dynastic handover of power in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.

His election triggered bloody opposition-led riots and clashes between protesters and police.

Aliyev has since clamped down on dissent. Azerbaijan is emerging as a hub of Caspian Sea oil production and both the United States and Russia have said they want to see stability in the country.

Meanwhile, Aliyev urged his party to prepare for the November elections, but deplored the lack of opposition's capability to give him a good fight at the polls.

Aliyev was the sole candidate for the party's top post.

Also Sunday, Aliyev issued a decree aimed at organizing Azerbaijan television and radio programs. As a first step towards that goal, he abolished the Azerbaijan State Television and Radio Company.

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Topics: Ilham Aliyev
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