Presidential elections in Tajikistan as expected endorsed the incumbent Emomali Rahmon mandate for seven years more, crowning him as the longest-serving ruler among leaders of the former Soviet Republics.
Polling stations opened at 6am local time (01:00 GMT) on Sunday, October 11, and closed at 8pm (15:00 GMT), with results expected the following morning.
The Central Electoral Commission said the vote had passed the turnout threshold required for validation, with more than 70% of the nearly five million strong electorate casting votes.
Just a week ago on October 5th the Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has wished a happy birthday to Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon, BelTA reported quoting sources from the press service of the Belarusian leader.
“In your country and abroad you are by right appreciated as an experienced and authoritative leader whose efforts and political will have ensured sustainable development of Tajikistan and the strengthening of its influence on the international arena,” the felicitation message reads.
Rahmon, 68, has run the Persian-speaking nation of 9.5 million people since 1992, a period including a civil war. He has gradually strengthened his grip and a 2016 constitutional reform removed a limit on the number of terms he could serve.
Rahmon had four competitors, all of whom are viewed as token opponents, in his bid for a renewed seven-year term. All challengers are members of the lower house of parliament and have avoided criticising Rakhmon, whose official title is “Founder of Peace and National Unity – Leader of the Nation.”
“The European Union has been closely following the electoral processes in Tajikistan throughout 2020, including the Presidential elections that took place on 11 October.
The EU welcomes the decision of the Government of Tajikistan to invite the OSCE/ODIHR to monitor both the Presidential and, previously, the Parliamentary elections, as well as the subsequent deployment of a small team of electoral experts as part of an Election Assessment Mission (EAM). The EU looks forward to the EAM’s concluding report that will be published in the next 6-8 weeks and will carefully examine its recommendations in order to support their implementation.
The Presidential elections seem to have been carried out in a peaceful and orderly manner. However, we note that several of the recommendations identified in the final report of OSCE/ODIHR Electoral Assessment Mission that was deployed in March 2020 in connection with the Parliamentary elections remain valid and unimplemented, such as the independence of the media environment and political plurality.
Significant efforts are needed to further align the electoral process with Tajikistan’s OSCE commitments and other international obligations and standards for the conduct of democratic elections, including the freedom of the media to impartially cover and report on political developments in all parts of the country”.
“The EU will seek to cooperate with and support Tajikistan in its efforts to fully implement the full sets of OSCE/ODIHR recommendations presented by both EAMs. We remain a reliable and significant partner in development cooperation, actively promoting economic modernisation, sustainable and equitable socio-economic growth, as well as enhanced governance reforms and regional cooperation”.