The Central Election Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan (CEC) announced Monday that President Shavkat Mirziyoyev was re-elected with over 87 percent of the vote. The vote came shortly after Uzbekistan’s new constitution went into effect in May. Under the previous constitution, Mirziyoyey would have been barred from holding office again.
The CEC, in a meeting with election observers from China, Russia and Turkmenistan, stated the election was conducted in “accordance with the law and democratic principles.” Representatives from both China and Russia praised the CEC for organizing the election in a short time period. Russia’s representative emphasized the high level of citizen participation with voters “cast[ing] their ballots freely.”
Conversely, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) criticized the elections. The well-respected election observer group issued a statement saying that the “election was technically well-prepared but took place in a political environment lacking genuine competition.” The closest competitor secured just 4.5 percent. OSCE also too issue with Mirziyoyev’s actions leading up to the elections. The group stated the “introduction of social measures, legislated by presidential decrees, and announcements of new projects and social benefit plans provided an undue advantage of incumbency and blurred the separation between State and party.”
The snap election was called shortly after a new constitution went into effect in May. Under the recently approved constitution’s Article 106, the president’s term increased from five to seven years. Nonetheless, the president is still limited to no more than two consecutive terms. Mirziyoyev was first elected in 2016 was in the middle of his second five-year term. Despite this, he was still permitted to run. First Deputy Chairman of the Senate of Oliy Majlis, Sodiq Safoyev, stated in an interview with Kun.uz that the new term limits “provide an opportunity for all citizens, including our current President, to participate in the elections.”
With Mirziyoyev’s re-election and lack of organized opposition, his role as president could potentially extend to 2037. However, Safoyev stated, “Mirziyoyev, is not a politician who clings to power.”