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Uzbek Lawmakers Propose Moving Presidential Election Forward To October


A man casts his ballot next to a portrait of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev during parliamentary elections in Tashkent in December 2019.

TASHKENT -- Uzbek parliament's lower chamber, the Oliy Majlis, has proposed moving up presidential elections to October from December as part of a package of election law changes to bring voting to "international standards."

Lawmakers approved the proposals in the first reading on October 25.

According to current legislation, presidential elections are held every five years on the first Sunday to fall during the last 10 days of December.

Lawmakers are now proposing to hold the vote on the first Sunday during the last 10 days of October, saying that holding presidential polls in December has "led to delays in postelection political activities, including the adoption of a state program and other reforms."

It did not say why December polls lead to these delays.

Some critics in Uzbekistan say the true reason for the proposal is because December is when the government usually comes under harsh criticism over its usual poor performance meeting heating needs as winter clamps down on the country.

Other amendments in the package deal -- which the government says are based on the recommendations of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights -- deal with technical aspects of the elections, party financing, speeding up the results process. and cutting out the usage of state resources during election campaigns.

President Shavkat Mirziyoev is expected to take part in the next presidential election, with his first five-year term ending this year.

Mirziyoev took over Central Asia's most populous nation of 32 million after the death of his authoritarian predecessor, Uzbekistan's first president, Islam Karimov, was announced in early September 2016.

He was elected president later in December that year.

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