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Strong Turnout Reported In Uzbekistan Vote

Uzbekistan's Central Election Commission is reporting high turnout in today's legislative elections to the country's 150-seat lower house of parliament.

Some 80 percent of the country's 17 million voters were reported to have already cast their ballots with hours to go before polls closed.

None of Uzbekistan's postindependence ballots has ever been recognized as democratic by Western observers, and the rubber-stamp parliament plays a remote role in governing the country.

All four political parties participating in the Uzbek vote support the rule of President Islam Karimov, who has run the hydrocarbon-rich country since 1989.

The contenders include the Liberal Democratic Party, the People's Democratic Party Of Uzbekistan, the National Revival Party "Milly Tiklanish," and the Social Democratic Party, Adolat.

There are no officially registered opposition parties in Uzbekistan.

compiled from RFE/RL and agency reports