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TASHKENT, March 29 /TASS/. Presidential elections have started in Uzbekistan. More than 9,000 polling stations opened in the republic at 06:00 local time /04:00 Moscow time/. More than 20 million voters are going to elect a new president for the next five-year term, Uzbekistan’s Central Electoral Commission said.
The commission’s head, Mirza-Ulugbek Abdusalomov, said there were 9,058 polling stations, including 44 at Uzbek embassies abroad. Two polling stations have opened in Russia - in the cities of Moscow and Novosibirsk (Siberia).
There is no day of silence in Uzbekistan. Under the local laws, political campaigning is forbidden only on the day of the vote.
Preliminary vote results will be announced next day - on March 30. There will be no exit polls, Abdusalomov explained. Early voting took place in Uzbekistan on March 19-27.
The election campaign kicked off in Uzbekistan on December 26 last year. On February 14, 2015 the Central Electoral Commission registered four candidates who would run in the presidential race. They include the country’s incumbent president, Islam Karimov (the Movement of Entrepreneurs and Business People - Liberal-Democratic Party); Khatamzhon Ketmonov (the People’s Democratic Party); Akmal Saidov (the Democratic Party of Uzbekistan "Milly Tiklanish)"; and Narimon Umarov, the head of the Executive Committee of the Adolat "(Justice/Social-Democratic Party).
Some changes have taken place in election procedures in Uzbekistan since 2007 when the last presidential elections were held. No independent candidates can be nominated. At the same time, the presidential tenure has been reduced from 7 to 5 years.
If more than two candidates run in elections and none of them gain more than half of the votes, a re-run vote takes place. The two candidates who enlist the biggest support in the first round will run in the repeat vote.
More than 33% of voters registered in voter lists are to turn up at the polls so that they could be recognized as valid.
The elections will be monitored by representatives of foreign countries and international organizations, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (ICO) as well as the heads of diplomatic missions of the Republic of Korea, China, the United States and several European countries.
More than 340 local and foreign journalists will cover the elections.