Baku, 4 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Azerbaijan's Central Election Commission today authorized Ilham Aliyev -- son of the country's leader Heidar Aliyev (pictured) -- to be a candidate in the 15 October presidential election. Ilham Aliev's candidacy was endorsed on 28 June by a group of citizens of the exclave of Nakhichevan, just days after the Yeni Azerbaycan (New Azerbaijan) ruling party nominated 80-year-old President Aliyev to seek a third term.
The 41-year-old son has long been groomed to take over from his ailing father, but authorities have always officially denied any such plans.
Ilham is Yeni Azerbaycan's first deputy chairman. He is also the first deputy chairman of Azerbaijan's State Oil Company and the president of Azerbaijan's Olympic Committee.