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Tajikistan's incumbent leader predictably wins presidential election

November 07, 2013, 16:28 UTC+3
1 pages in this article

MOSCOW, November 7 (Itar-Tass) - Tajikistan’s incumbent leader Emomali Rakhmon predictably won the presidential election and will remain in office for the next seven years. Observers noted the importance of his victory in the light of the upcoming withdrawal of the coalition forces from Afghanistan in 2014. Another positive factor is that the participants in Eurasian integration processes are unlikely to encounter unexpected problems with Tajikistan.

With voter turnout at 86.6 percent, Emomali Rakhmon gathered 3,023,000, or 83.6 percent of votes, Central Election Commission chairman Shermukhammad Shokhiyen told a news briefing on Thursday. He underlined that it was a preliminary result. "The final results will be summed up within the next few days; the inauguration is scheduled for November 17," he said.

According to Shokhiyen, other presidential hopefuls lagged far behind Rakhmon. Candidate from Tajikistan's Communist Party Ismoil Talbakov netted 5 percent of votes, Agrarian Party representative Tolibekk Bukhoriyev 4.5 percent, Economic Reforms Party leader Olimdzhon Boboyev 4 percent, chairman of the Socialist Party Abdukhalim Gaffarov 1.5 percent and leader of the Tajik Democrats Saiddzhafar Ismonov - 1 percent.

No serious violations were reported during the voting which was transparent and democratic, the CEC chairman noted.

Tajik citizens could exercise their constitutional right at 3,158 voting stations across the country at 61 voting stations in foreign states, including 24 in Russian regions. "More than 500 observers from the CIS, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Shanghail Cooperation Organizations and the Russian Central Election Commission were watching the voting. Their representatives are to make statements on the election later on Thursday.

Emomali Rakhmon is a key signatory to the Tajik peace accord signed in Moscow. Rakhmon won the presidential elections of 1994 and 1999 in a landslide, while the amendments to the Constitution which extended the president's term in office and a lack of constructive opposition secured his lead in the subsequent presidential polls in 2006 and 2013.

Well-known Tajik political analysist, lawmaker Sukhrob Shapirov said that it is the candidate's name that became the decisive factor in the election of the future president, in the condition of traditional eastern mentality. "Residents in some regions have never heard about any political parties, not mentioning their leaders, but everybody knows Rakhmon," Shapirov said.

"Its objective reality which in practice delivers the crucial factor for success," the expert said.

Deputy director of the presidential Center for Strategic Studies Saifullo Safarov shares this opinion. "The country's leader does not need administrative leverage because his key argument is a clear program of actions for people envisioning measures to decrease the poverty level, toughen the fight against corruption, attain energy independence and revive modern industrial production," Safarov said.

"Our population remembers well and appreciates the efforts of the one who stopped the Civil War and secured the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees, contributing to pace and stability in the region and Tajikistan's territorial integrity," he added.

Representative of the Islamic Revival Party Oinikhol Bobonazarova, 65, could have been a serious rival to Rakhmon in the presidential election. A woman aspiring to the country's top post is a sensation in itself in the Islamic country. However, she failed to gather the mandatory 210,000 signatures of her supporters to secure her registration as presidential candidate and dropped out of the race.

Rakhmon's opponents have reasons for criticism: the country is plagued with corruption which is exacerbated by regionalism and clannishness. Another negative factor is a lack of new figures in the political arena. Some observers believe that the opposition is partly to blame for this situation because there is no unity in their ranks or a wish to reach a consensus. During the election campaign, the opposition was unable to come up with a coherent programme to develop the country.

Rakhmon strengthened his position before the election thanks to interaction with Russia in various areas. The public has a positive opinion of the accord with Moscow extending Russia's military presence in the country, the development of cooperation with Russia's gas giant Gazprom and the authorities' efforts to meet the demand for electricity with the Sangtudinskaya hydroelectric power plant built by Russia.

Experts note that cooperation with Moscow is a good signal to foreign investors and international financial institutions. Tajikistan uses foreign loans to develop its transport infrastructure and build new buildings in its capital Dushanbe.

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