Tajikistan ruling party to win polls, initial count shows | News | DW | 02.03.2020

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Tajikistan ruling party to win polls, initial count shows

The ruling party of Tajikistan's strongman leader is on track to secure victory in the Central Asian country's parliamentary elections. The only opposition party in the race failed to win a single seat.

Tajikistan's ruling People's Democratic Party, led by President Emomali Rakhmon, won 50.4% of the vote in the March 1 poll, according to preliminary results announced Monday.

Five other pro-government parties also crossed the 5% threshold to enter parliament, the ex-Soviet republic's Central Election Commission said.

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Meanwhile, the only competing opposition party, the Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan, won just 0.32% of the vote and failed to secure a single seat, the commission said.

Under Tajikistan's political system, 41 of the 63 seats in the lower house are contested in single-seat constituencies, while the remaining 22 are distributed along party lines according to overall vote share.

The CEC said voter turnout was 86.4%.

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Opposition voices largely absent

Rakhmon, 67, has led the country since 1992 and has sought to consolidate his control in recent years. A referendum in 2016 eliminated presidential term limits, essentially allowing him to rule indefinitely. 

Sunday's election was the first vote since the collapse of the Soviet Union that did not involve the main opposition group, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan. The moderate, faith-based party was banned in 2015.

"Respect of fundamental freedoms has further deteriorated since the last elections," the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which observed the electoral process, said. "The choice between political alternatives is limited in the absence of independent media and a functioning opposition."

nm/msh (Reuters, AFP)

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