TASHKENT -- Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev has signed into law a bill approved by parliament on moving up the presidential election to October.
According to the new law, signed on February 8, presidential, parliamentary, and general elections will be held on the first Sunday during the last 10 days of October, which this year falls on October 24.
Previously, elections were held every five years on the first Sunday to fall during the last 10 days of December.
Last month, lawmakers proposed the change, saying that holding presidential polls in December had "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 was because December is when the government usually comes under harsh criticism over its continual poor handling of meeting heating needs as winter clamps down on the country.
Other amendments, which the government said 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.
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, first President Islam Karimov, was announced in early September 2016.
He was elected as president later in December that year.