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Candidate Registration Ends For Tajik Elections

Mirzoali Boltuev, head of the Central Election Comission (file photo)

Mirzoali Boltuev, head of the Central Election Comission (file photo)

DUSHANBE -- Registration for Tajikistan's parliamentary elections has ended, with 150 candidates officially allowed to run, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Central Election Commission Chairman Mirzoali Boltuev told RFE/RL that four people who applied as candidates were not registered by the commission for the February 28 parliamentary elections.

There are 63 seats available in the lower house of parliament, the Majlisi Namoyandagon, and elections will also be held for town and village councils.

An Islamic Renaissance Party leader, Vohidkhon Qosiddinov, said his party's nominees were registered for the parliamentary elections but that "technical problems" -- reportedly due to the improper work of regional election commissions -- led to his party's candidates not being registered for local elections.

Social Democratic Party leader Rahmatullo Zoirov said that despite a pledge from President Emomali Rahmon that the elections would be fair, the ruling-party candidates have been given more opportunities to meet with voters while opposition parties are only allowed to campaign in designated places.

The two opposition parties urged the government to amend the election laws before campaigning is finished and to lower or abolish the candidate registration fee -- which is 7,000 somonis (nearly $1,600) and unaffordable for many candidates. The fee is only returned to winning candidates.