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Tajikistan: OSCE Expresses Doubts About Referendum

Dushanbe, 24 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has added its voice to concerns about the official results of Tajikistan's constitutional referendum on 22 June. The OSCE said in a statement that the official turnout of more than 96 percent raises doubts that the results were reported accurately. Tajik election officials reported that more than 93 percent of those who voted approved the constitutional referendum.

Among other changes, the referendum gives President Imomali Rakhmonov the right to run for two more seven-year terms after his current second term ends in 2006.

The OSCE said it didn't send an observer mission to monitor the referendum because it hadn't been invited.

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker yesterday said the Tajik referendum did not meet international standards for transparency. He called on the Tajik government "to test its leadership and its policies through regularly scheduled free and fair elections."