Uzbek President Islam Karimov appears set to extend his 25-year rule in the tightly controlled Central Asian nation following his nomination for reelection.
At a joint session on January 15, Karimov's Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan and the Movement of Entrepreneurs and Businesspeople nominated him as a candidate in the March 29 presidential election.
Karimov, who turns 77 on January 30, was last reelected in a 2007 vote that international monitors said failed to meet democratic standards because of a "tightly controlled political environment" that meant there was no real opposition.
A former Soviet apparatchik, Karimov has ruled the nation of 29 million since 1990, the year before it gained independence in the Soviet collapse.
His government tolerates little dissent and has been accused of frequent human rights abuses.
Also on January 15, Uzbekistan's People's Democratic Party nominated the chairman of its Central Council, Khatamjan Ketmonov, 45, as a presidential candidate.
None of the parties in parliament opposes Karimov, and critics say rivals are placed on election ballots to create a veneer of competition.
In 2011, Uzbekistan passed a law reducing the presidential term from seven to five years.
Based on reporting by fergananews.ru, podrobno.uz and Interfax