The European Union has said the victory of acting Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyaev in a largely uncontested presidential election this weekend showed the need for continued reform in the Central Asian nation.
"Uzbekistan’s authorities should effectively address these weaknesses, and the European Union stands ready to assist in this process," an EU spokesman said in a statement late December 5.
Earlier on the same day, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) declared that the election was "devoid of genuine competition," which deprived voters of "the opportunity to hear alternative viewpoints."
The EU noted that "significant reforms began in the run-up to the elections, in particular steps to improve the business climate, the judicial system, labor conditions, administrative accountability, and the fight against corruption."
Those reforms "should be continued," the EU said, to "strengthen Uzbekistan's democratic governance and economic and social development."