First VP Mehriban Aliyeva to become outstanding statesperson, says Gusman

President Ilham Aliyev announced the promotion of his wife, Mehriban, at a meeting of the Azerbaijan security council on Tuesday, describing her as a "professional, experienced and principled person" as well as a "humanitarian".

Mehriban Aliyeva was appointed on February 21 after the constitutional changes made past year; this changes introduced the powerful position of first vice president which is also the second most senior official in the nation.

President Ilham Aliyev thanked the Turkish President for his attention and congratulations.

In September, Mr Aliyev organised a referendum which created a strong vice-presidency and extended the presidential term to seven years, from five.

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She has been a member of the New Azerbaijan Party since 2004 and the party's deputy chairwoman since 2013, it said.

The First Lady takes the position just five months after constitutional reforms extended presidential term lengths to seven years, and introduced two separate vice presidential offices, including that of first vice president-a position that would take over the presidency if the president can not perform the duties of that office.

"First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva appears to have had substantial cosmetic surgery, presumably overseas, and wears dresses that would be considered provocative even in the western world", according to one state department cable leaked in 2010.

Born into the powerful Pashayev family, Aliyeva has sometimes been seen as a possible successor to her husband, who took over in 2003 after the death of his father Heydar, a former KGB officer and Communist-era boss.

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"This appointment shows disrespect to the people", Ali Kerimli, the leader of Azerbaijan's opposition Popular Front Party, said.

First of all, she stressed that Aliyev family is an example of patriotism. Graduating as a medical doctor, she also secured a degree in philosophy, defending a thesis on euthanasia.

According to some data published previous year by the American press, the First Lady is completely left out from any political issue even though she was an MP since she married Aliyev.

She pays a lot of attention to luxury and has been featured in Wikileaks' US diplomatic cables.

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