BAKU, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 25th july, 2016) : Ex-Soviet Azerbaijan on Tuesday set September 26 as the date for a referendum on constitutional changes that would hand extra powers to long-running President Ilham Aliyev. The amendments, which have already been cleared by the oil-rich Caucasus country's Constitutional Court, would extend the president's term in office from five to seven years. They would also create a powerful new first vice-president position and several other vice-presidencies.
State media published the proposed changes on Tuesday after the Constitutional Court approved them a day earlier, obliging the president to call a referendum within 60 days. Aliyev has led the oil-rich country since his father Heydar, a former Communist-era boss, died after a decade in power in 2003. Ilham Aliyev, 54, last won a landslide election victory in 2013 despite OSCE observers pointing to significant problems with the vote, with the next elections to be held in 2018. He can stand for an unlimited number of terms after a disputed referendum in 2009 scrapped the two-term limit on presidential mandates.