TASHKENT, December 4. /TASS/. Voting has begun in the presidential election in Uzbekistan. The country’s Central Election Commission informed TASS that 9,378 polling stations opened at 6am local time (4am Moscow Time) on Sunday, which will be working until 8pm (6pm Moscow Time).
Citizens are to elect the head of state from four candidates. The election is held in connection with the death of the country’s first President, Islam Karimov, on September 2.
The candidates are Uzbekistan’s Acting President and Prime Minister, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, nominated by the Movement of Entrepreneurs and Businesspeople - the Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan. His rivals are the leaders of three other officially registered political associations of the country. The People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan has nominated Khotamjon Ketmonov, Uzbekistan’s Nationial RevivalDemocratic Party - Sarvar Otamuratov and the Justice Social Democratic Party - Narimon Umarov.
In accordance with the law, the election will be declared valid if no less than 33% of the total number of voters take part in them. The candidate who will secure the votes of more than 50% of the voters taking part in the election will be the winner of the presidential race.
There are 44 polling stations at the diplomatic missions in 28 countries. In Russia, the polling stations are located in Uzbekistan’s Embassy in Moscow and in the Consulate General in Novosibirsk. According to the Russian migration authorities, as of the beginning of February, there were about 1,8 million Uzbekistan's citizens in Russia.
A poll conducted by the Ijtimoiy Fikr Public Opinion Center, during which 2,200 people were interviewed, has shown that 97,5% of voters are going to take part in the presidential election.
The election is being monitored by observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Association of World Election Bodies, numerous representatives of parliaments, electoral bodies and experts from Europe, America, the Asia-Pacific region and the CIS - a total of more than 600 people. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has sent a full-fledged mission to monitor the election for the first time. More than 1.3 million journalists will be covering the election.