Uzbekistan’s Incumbent President Wins 2nd Term in Office

According to Uzbekistan’s Central Election Commission, Incumbent President Shavkat Mirziyoyev earned 80.1 percent of the vote on Sunday and will earn his second five year term. 

Mirziyoyev, who entered office in 2016 after the death of longstanding President Islam Karimov, has softened many of his totalitarian predecessor’s policies while maintaining tight control over the political environment.

In the election last Sunday, Mirziyoye faced four relatively low-visibility candidates who did not even show up for television debates, instead of sending proxies who did not participate in substantive conversations. 

Independent candidates were not permitted, and the campaign would have been difficult to detect if it hadn’t been for billboards featuring the politicians and SMS messages sent by the government informing people about the upcoming election.

Despite the lack of major competition, voter turnout was high (80.8%).

A joint observation mission to monitor  the Uzbek elections was led by representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and the European Parliament.

In comparison to the Karimov era, freedom of speech has grown under Mirziyoyev, and some independent news media and bloggers have emerged. He also eased the strict limitations on Islam instituted by Karimov to quell dissident ideas in the mostly Muslim country.

Mirziyoyev also  relaxed harsh currency controls, which encouraged international investment, and he worked to mend strained foreign ties under Karimov.

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