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Tajikistan: Election Commission Says Voters Approve Constitutional Changes

Dushanbe, 23 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The Central Election Commission in Tajikistan says nearly 93 percent of the participants in a referendum voted in favor of changes in the constitution, including an extension of the number of years a president can serve. The amended constitution would allow President Imomali Rakhmonov to run for two seven-year presidential terms after his current term expires in 2006. If he is re-elected, he could now remain in office until 2020.

The referendum also included amendments for mainly minor, technical changes to the country's constitution.

Election commission officers said 96.5 percent of Tajikistan's eligible voters took part in the referendum yesterday. At least 50 percent was required for the vote to be valid.