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Uzbekistan to hold presidential elections

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Uzbekistan to hold presidential elections

Photo: Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP

Uzbekistan’s presidential election is set to be held today.

After being elected in 2016 with almost 90% of the vote, incumbent President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is running again against five other candidates, all of whom are from pro-government parties. After the end of former-President Islam Karimov’s 27-year rule, Mirziyoyev proclaimed the ushering in of a “new Uzbekistan.” However—in addition to the lack of meaningful opposition—no new parties are registered on today’s ballot.

Despite Mirziyoyev’s introduction of new economic liberalization policies and attempts to create a stronger sense of political transparency, the events leading up to today’s election included extensive media coverage favorable to Mirziyoyev and the use of administrative resources for Mirziyoyev’s campaign.

Thus, expect Mirziyoyev to win today’s election by a landslide, especially as economic liberalization remains relatively popular nationwide. With economic reforms a priority agenda item, in the medium- to long-term, expect the president’s pro-Russia strategy to help propel Uzbekistan into full membership in the Eurasian Economic Union, further boosting the country’s economic growth. In addition, expect greater defense ties with Russia, considering the Taliban takeover of Uzbekistan’s neighbor, Afghanistan. Though Mirziyoyev is more progressive than his predecessor, expect political plurality and future opposition to remain curtailed.

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