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Uzbek Opposition Says It Will Boycott Elections

12 November 2004 -- A coalition of Uzbek opposition groups said today it will boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections after being unable to register candidates.

The Davra Kengash, or Roundtable Council, said in a statement that the results of the 26 December vote are "predetermined" by authorities. Members of the council urged their supporters to ignore the vote "for the sake of self-respect."

The council includes the Erk, Birlik, and Free Peasants parties and several independent rights groups.

Although it said it supported the decision, Birlik said it had been able to register one party representative as an independent candidate and would back his bid.

Erk and Free Peasants had earlier announced their decision to boycott the polls.

Uzbekistan has five legal political parties, all of which publicly support President Islam Karimov.