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Main Tajik Opposition Party Won't Make Presidential Bid

Muhiddin Kabiri, leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party (file photo) (RFE/RL) DUSHANBE, September 25, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Tajikistan's opposition Islamic Renaissance Party has decided to not field a candidate in the presidential election scheduled for November 6.

Tajikistan's Avesta news agency says lack of trust in the Central Election Commission and flaws in the country's election law are the two main reasons cited by party delegates to explain their decision.

However, in comments to RFE/RL's Tajik Service, party chairman Muhhidin Kabiri said "an important element in our decision" was "the unsuitability of the international situation and the reservations about Islamic political forces. There is also a lack of mutual trust between us and the international community.,. We didn't want to put Tajikistan in an awkward position. In other words, we didn't want to place our country and our party at the front line of criticism that Islamic movements are very active here. We have once again sacrificed our rights so as not to block possible aid to Tajikistan."

Two other opposition groupings -- the Social Democratic and Democratic parties -- on September 24 also decided to not field candidates, calling the upcoming polls "illegal" and "unconstitutional."

President Imomali Rakhmonov, who has been in power since 1992, on September 23 announced his intention to seek a third term.

Under controversial constitutional changes voted three years ago, Rakhmonov theoretically has the right to rule until 2020.

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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