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TASHKENT, March 29. /TASS/. The presidential elections in the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan are recognized as valid, the Central Electoral Commission said on Sunday, citing electoral data.
As of 10:00 local time (05:00 GMT), a total of 7.6 million voters or 36.55% of registered electors took part in the vote, the Central Electoral Commission said.
More than 33% of voters registered in voter lists are to turn up at the polls to recognize them as valid.
Uzbekistan’s incumbent leader Islam Karimov who has been in power for 26 years is expected to extend his rule in the presidential election. The 77-old former Communist leader of Soviet Uzbekistan has been nominated by the Movement of Entrepreneurs and Business People - the Liberal-Democratic Party.
The other presidential candidates include Khatamzhon Ketmonov from the People’s Democratic Party, Akmal Saidov from the Democratic Party of Uzbekistan called "Milly Tiklanish" (National Revival) and Narimon Umarov from the Adolat (Justice) Social-Democratic Party.
Some changes have taken place in electoral 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 win the biggest support in the first round will run in the repeat vote.
The first preliminary results will be announced on March 30.
The elections are being 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), s 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 are covering the presidential elections in Uzbekistan.