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Azerbaijan leader sacks security minister

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Saturday fired his powerful security minister in a surprise move that opposition politicians said highlights a lack of transparency in the tightly-controlled ex-Soviet nation’s political system.

“I decree to relieve Eldar Mahmudov of the position of the Azerbaijani Republic’s national security minister,” Aliyev said in a decree published on his website, giving no explanation for the decision.

Widely seen as Aliyev’s loyalist, Mahmudov, 59, has served as Azerbaijan’s national security minister since 2004.

Prominent Azerbaijani opposition politician, Isa Gambar, said the way Aliyev fired the veteran minister shows that “there is no transparency whatsoever in political decision-making” in Azerbaijan.

“What happened to Mahmudov shows yet again how opaque Azerbaijan’s political system is,” Gambar told AFP. “Aliyev sacks a key government minister without explanation, on his sudden whim.”

Leader of the opposition Popular Front party, Ali Kerimly, said: “Azerbaijan is an authoritarian country. Our president doesn’t bother about explaining his decisions to society.”

Critics have long accused Aliyev of authoritarianism, corruption, and rights abuses — claims he has furiously rejected.

He took over in 2003 on the death of his father Heydar Aliyev, a former KGB officer and communist-era leader who had ruled newly-independent Azerbaijan with an iron fist since 1993.

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Posted By Bobricky On 10:16 Sat, 17 Oct 2015

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