WASHINGTON -- Against a background of intimidation and harassment of opposition parties, human rights activists, and independent journalists, voters go to the polls on March 1 in Tajikistan’s parliamentary elections. Seven parties are registered to compete, but the result seems preordained -- President Emomali Rahmon’s party, the People’s Democratic Party of Tajikistan (PDPT), will win the most seats.
But there are some interesting side stories in this campaign, such as the notable absence of the Islamic Renaissance Party, once the second largest party in the country, but now banned and declared an extremist group. In a vivid example of the servility that characterizes the other parties ostensibly contesting the polls, all but the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDPT) heeded the ruling party’s guidance to avoid an RFE/RL Tajik Service-sponsored pre-election debate on February 19. The Service instead conducted a “failed debate” between the SDPT representative and an empty chair.
Some analysts are looking closely to see if there are any clues in these parliamentary elections as to what might happen later this year when Tajikistan holds a presidential poll. Incumbent Rahmon, in power since 1992 and currently 67 years old, will seek reelection -- or possibly opt to hand over the title of president to a hand-picked successor.
RFE/RL experts are available for comment before, during and after the polls:
- SIROJIDDIN TOLIBOV, RFE/RL Tajik Service Managing Editor (English and Tajik)
firstname.lastname@example.org -- phone: +420.776.062.920
- ZARANGEZ NAVRUZSHOEVA, RFE/RL Tajik Service Acting Bureau Chief (English and Tajik)
email@example.com -- phone: +992.922.214.171.124
- MUHAMMADVAFO RAHMATOV, RFE/RL Tajik Service Web Editor (English and Tajik)
firstname.lastname@example.org -- phone: +992.9126.96.36.199
Find RFE/RL Experts at https://pressroom.rferl.org/experts
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