A woman votes at a polling station during a referendum on boosted presidency on September 26, 2016 in Baku. / AFP / TOFIK BABAYEV
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Azerbaijanis have overwhelmingly backed constitutional changes extending President Ilham Aliyev's grip on power in a referendum denounced by opposition and rights groups as a ploy to cement the Aliyev family's dynastic rule.With all ballots counted from Monday's nationwide referendum, more than 91 percent of voters had approved constitutional amendments extending the president's term in office from five to seven years, the Central Election Commission said Tuesday, adding that turnout was 69.7 percent.Other changes endorsed in the referendum introduce a new position of powerful first vice president, who will rule in the president's absence, and also allow the president to call snap leadership polls at will and easily dissolve parliament.
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