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Uzbekistan to hold uncompetitive parliamentary elections


Uzbekistan to hold uncompetitive parliamentary elections

Uzbek Elections
Pyotr Trotsenko (RFE/RL)

Parliamentary elections are being held in today Uzbekistan.

Of the five parties permitted to run, none belong to the opposition or are critical of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev; today’s election will be uncompetitive. Indeed, no party formed over the last 15 years has been allowed on the ballot, ostensibly due to the requirement for 20,000 signatures.

The country’s 2016 presidential elections, in which Mirziyoyev gained almost 90% of the vote, were widely criticised as unfair. However, in contrast to the strict rule of former president Islam Karimov, Mirziyoyev has reduced state security powers, deregulated business, released tens of political prisoners and allowed media to discuss social and economic issues.

Praising Mirziyoyev as a reformer, US President Donald Trump signed a $4.8 billion business deal with Uzbekistan in May. Mirziyoyev sees foreign investors as the way out of Uzbekistan’s economic demise and has issued 10-year visas for those investing at least $3 million.

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Expect Mirziyoyev to proclaim today’s election as democratic and an indication of the reform underway in the economic and judicial systems, as a way to attract foreign investment. However, the election will consolidate Mirziyoyev’s influence in parliament.

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