Uzbekistan: Elections debated by observer organizations

Elections to the Legislative chamber of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan took place yesterday, and international organizations are thus far having a hard time coming to an agreement on whether they are legitimate or not. Two organizations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Commonwealth of Independent States, both hailed the elections as legitimate and genuine, boasting the prodigious 88% voter turnout rate and characterized the elections in their respective reports as democratic. Some 135 deputies of the lower house of Parliament were selected out of almost 500 candidates nominated by four political parties.

However, the vote and election monitoring arm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) criticized the Uzbek elections, saying that they lacked real competition. Their official statement described them as “competently administered but lacking in genuine electoral competition and debate,” and that all the four political parties support the current President, Islam Karimov. The OSCE also highlighted the lack of any substantive political debate inside of the country, and how authorities track down and publish names of contributors to Western newspapers.

These elections, according to most sources, will likely only increase Karimov’s hold on power. Little to no criticism came from non-Western sources, as Putin draws closer with Karimov.

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