Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rakhmon has secured a fourth term. The results of Wednesday’s election were never really in doubt, especially after officials disqualified the only real opposition candidate.
Rakhmon (right in photo) won over 83 percent in Wednesday’s election against five other candidates – an improvement even on his showing in the 2006 polls when he won 79.3 percent. With presidents serving seven years, the 61-year-old could stay in power until 2020.
Ahead of the election, officials ruled that the only real opposition candidate, the rights lawyer Oinikhol Bobonazarova of the Islamic Revival Party, had failed to muster the signatures required to register her candidacy. Bobonazarova gathered only 202,000 of the 210,000 signatures required for 5 percent of the electorate, a shortfall her party blamed on harassment by local authorities.
“The opposition is not represented in these elections,” Khikmatullo Saifullozoda, the spokesman for Bobonazarova’s party, told the news agency AFP ahead of the election. “Even the registered candidates are not opposed to the president.”
Rakhmon took power in 1992, at the start of a five-year civil war, appointed by the Tajik Supreme Soviet. He enjoyed easy re-elections in 1994, 1999 and 2006, and his easiest yet in 2013.
The Central Election Commission put Wednesday’s voter turnout at 86.6 percent.