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OSCE Concerned About Tajik Elections

Dushanbe, 21 January 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says it is concerned about the situation in Tajikistan in the run-up to next month's parliamentary elections.

Andrei Shugurov, deputy head of the OSCE's mission in Tajikistan, today told RFE/RL that the OSCE and its partner group, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), that Tajikistan is having problems meeting OSCE election requirements: "[The] OSCE and ODIHR have certain reservations as to the state of the affairs in the period before the forthcoming elections. All these reservations and concerns were expressed in the report of the ODIHR needs-assessment mission which visited Tajikistan in mid-December."

Shugurov said the political environment in the country ahead of the poll is one of increased centralization of power by the ruling party, and the narrowing of media and political rights for others.

However, Shugurov said it is ODHIR's opinion that Tajik authorities have every opportunity to mend the situation before the forthcoming elections.

(RFE/RL's Tajik Service/Reuters)

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