Azerbaijan’s Democratic Backslide Continues With Constitutional Referendum

Azerbaijan’s Democratic Backslide Continues With Constitutional Referendum
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev casts his ballot in a constitutional referendum, Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 26, 2016 (AP photo by Vugar Amrullayev).

Azerbaijanis went to the polls last month to vote in a referendum on 29 amendments to the constitution that would strengthen President Ilham Aliyev’s grip on power. Azerbaijan’s Central Election Commission said that over 63 percent of Azerbaijanis came out to vote, more than the 25 percent necessary to validate the poll. Exit polls show that nearly 90 percent of those that voted backed all of the amendments. The official results are due to be announced on Oct. 21. The referendum included several controversial amendments, including one that would extend the president’s term in office from five to seven years. […]

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