Saturday, December 4, 2021

Uzbek leader expected to get second term

Uzbekistan votes in Sunday’s presidential elections, in which incumbent President Shavkat Mirziyoyev faces no real opposition and will almost certainly win a second term.

Mirziyoyev’s projected victory will enable him to deepen his largely successful reform campaign and is likely to further open Uzbekistan to foreign trade and investment while maintaining a highly centralized political system.

The 64-year-old leader has re-established ties of the resource-rich country with both Russia and the West, which had become strained under his predecessor Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan’s first post-independence president.

Mirziyoyev has also reined in powerful security forces and oversaw the release of a number of political prisoners who have been imprisoned due to Karimov’s intolerance of dissent.

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However, there are no real opposition parties in this predominantly Muslim country of 34 million, and the four candidates running against Mirziyoyev have been nominated by parties supporting the president.

Mirziyoyev pledged to reduce poverty through rapid economic growth and gradually decentralize decision-making, transferring some powers to district councils.

Because of COVID-19 fears, voters are required to wear masks and observe social distancing at polling stations staffed by health workers. Polls close at 8:00 pm local time (3:00 pm GMT) and preliminary results are due to be announced on Monday.

Nation World News Desk
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