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Date Set For Tajik Referendum On Constitutional Changes

Tajikistan is to hold a referendum on May 22 on constitutional amendments that would enable President Emomali Rahmon to establish a presidential dynasty.

Lawmakers in the lower house of parliament unanimously approved the date on February 10, after the Constitutional Court ruled that changes to the country's constitution that would allow the president to run an indefinite number of times were legal.

The amendments adopted by lawmakers in January would also lower the required minimum age for presidents from 35 years to 30, enabling Rahmon's eldest son, Rustam Emomali, to take part in a presidential election scheduled for 2020, when he will be 33.

Another bill endorsed in December gave 63-year-old Rahmon, who has ruled Tajikistan since 1992, the title "leader of the nation" and granted him and his relatives lifelong immunity from prosecution.