Baku, 2 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev today announced that he is withdrawing from the country's presidential race. In a recorded television address, Aliyev said the state of his health does not allow him to continue to run for re-election on 15 October. He said he is withdrawing in favor of his son, Prime Minister Ilham Aliev, who is also running for president. The president called his son his "political successor."
Aliev, who is 80, collapsed on live television in April and since 8 July has been in Turkey and then in a clinic in the U.S. city of Cleveland, undergoing treatment for a recurrence of old heart problems.
Aliyev has been in power since 1993.