DUSHANBE -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon signed a decree today setting parliamentary elections for February 28, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
Muhibullo Dodojonov, the head of the Central Elections and Referendums Commission, told RFE/RL that now the president will nominate 13 people to complete the staff of the commission.
Candidates from eight political parties as well as independent candidates will compete for 63 seats in the Majlisi Namoyandagon, the lower chamber of parliament in the elections.
All candidates have to pay a candidates' fee of about $3,000 to run for parliament.
This fee led most parties -- with the exception of the ruling National Democratic and the opposition Islamic Renaissance parties -- to announce that they cannot afford to nominate a candidate for each of the 63 seats.
Forty-one of the seats in the Majlis will be chosen in separate constituencies, but the 22 will be selected from a nationwide constituency of all the political parties.
The National Democratic Party currently holds 55 seats in the lower chamber of parliament.
The Communist Party holds three and the Islamic Renaissance Party two seats. Rahmon recently warned state officials not to interfere in the electoral process and called for the elections to be "free and fair."
No parliamentary or presidential elections in Tajikistan have been deemed free and fair by a Western international monitoring organization since the country gained independence in 1991.