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Azerbaijani Court Approves Lengthening The Presidential Term

Azerbaijan’s highest court has approved an initiative by President Ilham Aliyev to extend the presidential term of office from five years to seven years.

The move on July 25 by Azerbaijan’s Constitutional Court is a step towards ratifying the initiative.

But the court said in a statement that ratification will require constitutional amendments and a referendum.

Aliyev has been in power since 2003. His third term is due to end in 2018.

A referendum in 2009 scrapped the country’s two-term presidential limit -- enabling Aliyev to rule for life as long as he keeps getting reelected.

Critics say the initiative to extend the presidential term is an undemocratic and illegal attempt to perpetuate the 54-year-old Aliyev’s rule.

International election monitoring groups have repeatedly said that national elections in Azerbaijan under Aliyev have been neither free nor fair.

Based on reporting by Reuters and