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Tajikistan Wraps Up Parliamentary Elections

President Rakhmonov praised the electoral process (file photo) 27 February 2005 -- Tajikistan's Central Election Commission said 87 percent of eligible voters cast ballots nationwide in the country's second parliamentary elections since its civil war in the 1990s.

The commission estimated that turnout was 75 percent in the capital Dushanbe.

Nearly 230 candidates are vying for 63 seats in the Majlisi Namoyandagon, or lower house of parliament.

Most analysts predict victory for the ruling People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan, or PDPT, led by its chairman and Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov.

Today, Rakhmonov praised the electoral process.

"I think [the current election process] is much more transparent than the previous election," Rakhmonov said. "I would not compare elections in our society to those in the United States and the West. I do not deny our shortcomings. We are just at the starting point of the creation of a democratic, secular country with the rule of law."

The PDPT already holds a majority of seats in parliament. It's only real challenger, the Islamic Renaissance Party, is parliament's only opposition party, with just two seats. The party's leader, Said Abdullo Nuri, said today that authorities of the central election commission obeyed "all election rules."

The other opposition parties have scant resources and few candidates.

(RFE/RL's Tajik Service/news agencies)

For more on the elections in Tajikistan, see our dedicated Tajikistan Votes 2005webpage.

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