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Tajik President's Son Becomes Chairman Of Parliament's Upper Chamber

Rustam Emomali in now the second-highest-ranking political figure in the country. (file photo)

DUSHANBE -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon's eldest son has become the chairman of the parliament's upper chamber, known as the Majlisi Milli.

Lawmakers on April 17 approved the appointment of Rustam Emomali, who is also mayor of the capital, Dushanbe. The move technically turns the president's son into the second-highest-ranking political figure in the tightly controlled Central Asian country.

According to Tajikistan's constitution, the Majlisi Milli chairman takes over the country if the president is not capable of carrying out his duties or resigns.

The president's son obtained the position as the country prepares to hold a presidential election later this year.

Emomali Rahmon, who has ruled Tajikistan for more than a quarter of a century, enjoys special powers under a May 2016 referendum -- including the right to seek as many terms in office as he wants.

Rahmon has been criticized by international human rights group in recent years over the increasing disregard for religious freedoms, civil society, and political pluralism in the former Soviet republic.