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Tajik Runoff Declared Valid

13 March 2005 -- Election officials in Tajikistan announced that by 12:00 local time, enough voters cast their ballots in the three districts where runoff parliamentary elections are being held today for the second round of elections to be declared valid.

In the 27 February first round of elections 60 of the 63 seats in the lower house of parliament were filled.

Muhibulloh Dodojonov of Tajikistan's Central Election Commission told RFE/RL today that in the Hisor district one of the candidates withdrew from the race leaving only the candidate from the ruling People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan (PDPT).

"In electoral district number seven, Hisor district candidate Sabzov Usmonjon withdrew his candidacy from the runoff. There is only one candidate -- Abdurahmon Sharifov," Dodojonov said.

Candidates from the PDPT are running in all three of today's runoff elections. The party, led by President Imomali Rakhmonov, won 75 percent of the seats in the 27 February election.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe criticized the first round of elections as being plagued with violations.

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