Tashkent, Oct 24, (Asia Free Press): Uzbekistan held presidential elections on Sunday in which incumbent Shavkat Mirziyoyev is expected to win by a landslide against weak competition, according to Associated Press (AP).
After Islam Karimov died in 2016, Mirziyoyev took over as president. He is up against four candidates with a low profile, including one who did not participate in televised debates.
“The other candidates talk about abstract things like strengthening social security, but they do not provide any details. Since they already know who will win, they do not need a formal plan,” political analyst Akhmed Rahmonov made the statement, reported AP
It is likely that Alisher Qodirov, a potential rival to Mirziyoyev, would propose that Uzbeks living outside the country pay taxes in Uzbekistan, which would be highly unpopular with the large population that relies on money sent home by relatives.
In the parliament, Mirziyoyev’s party is in coalition with Qodirov’s, and some have speculated that Qodirov proposed to funnel votes to the incumbent.
As a result of Mirziyoyev’s reforms, press freedom had improved since the Karimov era when it was severely restricted. As a result, Karimov’s strict restrictions on Islam in the predominantly Muslim country were eased.
“Mirziyoyev improved relations with world players such as Russia, China, and the West, while also resolving conflicts with neighbours, including establishing peaceful interaction with Afghanistan,” said Andrey Kazantsev of the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Relations.
There is a 144-kilometre border between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan has long been concerned that conflict could spread across the border. Since the Taliban seized control in August, Afghanistan’s first foreign official to visit was the ex-Soviet republic’s minister of foreign affairs.