Azerbaijani leader replaces veteran defense chief
BAKU – Agence France-PresseAzerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has replaced his long-standing defense minister in a surprise move announced during the unveiling of new a Cabinet following his crushing presidential election win.
Aliyev ditched Safar Abiyev, who has held the post since the mid-1990s, late Oct. 22 in favor of interior troop commander Zakir Gasanov. The move followed a spate of protests earlier this year over non-combat deaths in the army that were put down by authorities. Aliyev romped to a third term with an overwhelming win at an Oct. 9 poll.
Two other scandal-tainted ministers responsible for labor and agriculture were also replaced. Aliyev’s third term extends what is already a decades-long rule by his family. He won some 85 percent of the vote, far ahead of his main challenger Jamil Hasanli with around 5.5 percent.