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Karimov re-Elected President

Monday 30 March 2015

TASHKENT (AFP) – Uzbekistan’s Islam Karimov has been re-elected president by a landslide, according to preliminary results of Sunday’s election. The widely-predicted outcome saw Mr Karimov, who has led the country for more than 25 years, secure 90.39% of the vote.

Karimov, 77, who has ruled over Uzbekistan since 1989, two years before the country gained independence from the Soviet Union, when he was appointed to lead the Uzbekistan Communist Party.

The three challengers of Karimov, who is seeking a third term under the current constitution and a fourth term in total, claimed less than 10% between them. All three endorsed his campaign, however.

Even before all of the ballots were counted, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office sent congratulations to Karimov. Uzbekistan relies heavily on Russia, where 3 mln Uzbeks live and work.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in a statement issued on Monday criticized the vote as a foregone conclusion for lacking “genuine political alternatives”. One of their observer missions released a withering statement, saying Karimov should by rights have been barred from standing. “Despite a clear constitutional limit of two consecutive presidential terms, the central election commission registered the incumbent as a candidate”, Tana de Zulueta, the mission head, told reporters.

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