Despite highly controversial and disputed 2009 amendments to Azerbaijan’s Constitution that ostensibly removed term limits on the president, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s eligibility to run in the 2013 presidential election remains dubious.
The constitutional amendments were made after Ilham Aliyev was "elected" president in 2008. He was inaugurated and took the presidential oath upon the Constitution, which at that time contained a clear two-consecutive-presidential-term limit.
Thus, Ilham Aliyev should be under legal obligation not to run for a third term. His intention to do so is subject to legal challenges being currently prepared by potential opposition presidential candidates, with the possibility of international judicial review should the domestic legal process fail to be free and fair. Given the notoriously corrupt nature of the Azerbaijani legal system, the case is likely to end up before the European Court of Human Rights.
Isn’t it odd, then, that the head of the European Union delegation to Azerbaijan, Ambassador Roland Kobia, effectively endorsed Aliyev’s third term on December 5?
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This editor's note was amended on December 19, 2012 to reflect that EurasiaNet.org did receive an answer from the European External Action Service to a request from EurasiaNet.org for a response to this letter to the editor.
Emin Milli (http://eminmilli.posterous.com/) is a writer and dissident living in Azerbaijan. Murad Gassanly (http://muradgassanly.posterous.com/) is a British-Azerbaijani political activist and the director of the Azerbaijani Democratic Association - UK.