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Tajik Election Commission Chairman, Deputies Dismissed

Mirzoali Boltuev, pictured here in 2009
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has replaced the head of the Central Election Commission, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Rahmon on February 21 dismissed Mirzoali Boltuev and his two deputies as well as a fourth commission member "in connection with their transfer to other posts."

Rahmon then proposed Shermuhammad Shohiyon, the head of the Security and Defense Commission in the lower house of parliament, to replace Boltuev.

Tajik affairs expert Rajabi Mirzo told RFE/RL that Boltuev may have been dismissed because he had reached retirement age. But Mirzo also noted that there were rumors that Rahmon may be considering holding a nationwide referendum that would restructure his powers.

Mirzo pointed out that Uzbek President Islam Karimov recently proposed transferring some of his powers to the parliament, while Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev rejected -- at the last minute -- a proposed referendum on prolonging his rule and instead called for early presidential elections.

Mirzo said that if Rahmon were planning something similar he would need an energetic and competent team to "prove the legality" of the proposed changes.

He said Boltuev has admitted that he was not independent while in office, but simply acted on the orders of the administration.

Mirzo quoted Boltuev as saying that if anybody had complaints about the conduct of elections, they should be addressed to the presidential administration.

According to the law, Central Election Commission members are proposed by the president and approved by parliament.

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