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U.S. Envoy Calls For Fair Tajik Election

(RFE/RL) DUSHANBE, September 22, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan today urged authorities there to ensure a free and fair presidential election later this year.

Tracey Ann Jacobson told RFE/RL's Tajik Service in Dushanbe it is "important" to Tajikistan to "continue working" with the international community to ensure that the campaign for the November 6 presidential election is free and democratic.

"Not all the candidates have been named. But when they are, we want to see an election campaign that allows people to participate and candidates to have a fair chance to compete the elections," she said. "This is something we'll be watching very closely. How Tajikistan conducts these elections will be an important sign of the government's readiness to continue on the path to democracy, which we know is necessary for long-term stability."

On September 17, four opposition parties announced their intention to field candidates in the upcoming election.

President Imomali Rakhmonov, who has been ruling Tajikistan since 1992, has not said whether he will seek a third term. Most political observers in the country believe he will.