Tajikistan to hold presidential elections

Tajikistan will hold presidential elections today with current President Emomali Rahmon expected to remain in office. While five opposition candidates

Tajik Liubov Moiseenko

Photo: Liubov Moiseenko

Tajikistan will hold presidential elections today with current President Emomali Rahmon expected to remain in office. While five opposition candidates are on the ballot, Rahmon has maintained firm control over the country since the end of the Tajikistani Civil War in 1997.

A perpetual economic underperformer, Tajikistan and regional neighbours have also been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite such financial woes, do not expect the election-induced unrest similar to that seen in Kyrgyzstan and Belarus in recent weeks. Freedom of expression remains heavily suppressed under the current regime, and Rahmon’s ruling party has no political antipode.

While Rahmon is expected to be re-elected for another seven-year term, the 68-year-old is unlikely to serve out his time in office. His most likely successor is his son, Rustam, the current mayor of Dushanbe. While any ouster by the public is exceedingly unlikely, a move within the ruling elite to attempt to prevent Rahmon from passing on his power to another in his family is not out of the question. But barring such a development, a transfer of power will happen in the medium to long term.

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