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Azimov Loses Finance Ministry Post As Uzbek Cabinet Takes Shape


Outgoing Uzbek Finance Minister Rustam Azimov (file photo)

TASHKENT -- An influential official who had been seen as the late President Islam Karimov's possible successor has lost his job as finance minister as the Central Asian country's new government takes shape.

The government of Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov, who was sworn in on December 14, announced the next day that Rustam Azimov had been replaced as finance minister by Batyr Hojaev.

Hojaev was deputy economy minister before the December 15 appointment.

Azimov remains deputy prime minister responsible for macroeconomic development and foreign investment.

He had been seen as one of three main possible successors to Karimov, who ruled the former Soviet republic with an iron fist for a quarter-century before his death was announced on September 2.

But longtime Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyaev was installed as interim president and then elected in a tightly controlled December 4 vote.

Mirziyaev promised major personnel changes in the government when he was inaugurated on December 14.

In addition to Hojaev's promotion, other moves on December 15 included the appointment of Achilboi Ramatov, chairman of Uzbekistan Railways, as first deputy prime minister responsible for transport, communications, and infrastructure development. He remains the head of the state railway company.

The health minister and the chief of the Women's Committee, who is also a deputy prime minister, were also replaced.

New governors of the Tashkent and Sirdaryo regions were appointed, too.

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