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Defeated Candidate Challenges Tajik By-Election Result

Shermuhammad Shohiyon, head of the Tajik Central Election Commission, has accepted Saidzoda's complaint.
DUSHANBE -- A defeated candidate in a recent Tajik by-election has filed a complaint to demand the revision of the results, which he says were rigged, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Tolibsho Saidzoda, editor in chief of the independent newspaper "Millat" (Nation), ran in the May 15 by-election for a vacant parliament seat representing Dushanbe's Sino district.

Official results showed former Security Council secretary Amirkul Azimov defeated Saidzoda and two other candidates -- Muzaffar Mirzoev of the Agrarian Party and independent politician Safarbek Mannonov.

Mirzoev and Mannonov conceded defeat, but Saidzoda filed a complaint with the Central Election Commission (KMR).

Saidzoda told RFE/RL on May 24 that he believes the election was rigged, and that he appended evidence of fraud to his complaint. That evidence includes 14 observers' statements, photos of illegal ballot papers, and video footage showing six ballot papers being dropped illegally into a ballot box, Saidzoda told RFE/RL.

KMR Chairman Shermuhammad Shohiyon announced today that the commission has accepted Saidzoda's complaint.

A special group consisting of KMIR First Deputy Chairman Karomatullo Kholikov, KMIR administration chief Mukhibullo Dodojonov, and Union of Journalists of Tajikistan head Akbarali Sattorov, who is also a KMIR member, is expected to issue a ruling on Saidzoda's complaint within five days.

The Dushanbe seat was held by Shohiyon until he was appointed chairman of the Central Election Commission in March.

Read more in Tajik here