Observers dismiss Uzbek election 

Observers dismiss Uzbek election 

Uzbekistan’s architectural wonders are more attractive than its politics. Source: Eurasia Times

Uzbekistan’s Acting President Shavkat Mirziyoyev won 88.6 per cent of votes to become the Central Asian state’s second president after the tyrannical Islam Karimov died.  Mirziyoyev, 59, is the youngest leaders of the Central Asian states. 

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) deployed its first full-scale election observation mission in the country. It criticised the election process as falling short of accepted norms and said it demonstrated the need for “comprehensive reforms”.

It said Tashkent had not provided the conditions for a genuinely free and transparent election process.

“The dominant position of state actors and limits on fundamental freedoms … led to a campaign devoid of genuine competition,” the observers announced in a statement.

Mirziyoyev emerged from the Soviet administrative command system. He studied mechanical engineering, graduated from the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanisation, and worked as a scientist and secretary of the communist youth organisation Komsomol. After 1990 he was a people’s deputy in the Supreme Soviet of Uzbekistan before in 1994 becoming a member of the first parliament after independence. He was the head of administration in the regions of Jizzakh and Samarkand and became prime minister in 2003.

Akezhan Kazhegeldin, formerly prime minister of Kazakhstan and now in exile, said Mirziyoyev had been absolutely loyal. “In this role he was not a strategist; he was, above all, a manager. But he knows how the state works. Bearing in mind that the president relied on him for a long time, we can assume he’ll maintain the country’s strategy to date: the principle of non-alignment, attention to both regional and global issues, as well as strengthening the economy,” Kazhegeldin told DW. Uzbekistan remained the strongest country in Central Asia when it came to the functioning of state institutions, he said.

While he was acting president, Mirziyoyev made surprising personnel decisions by dismissing several provincial administrative heads. However, he has so far left influential Finance Minister Rustam Azimov in his role. Many saw him as a possible future president. Azimov is believed to be more pro-western, whereas Mirziyoyev seen as more inclined towards Moscow.

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