TASHKENT -- Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev has accepted the nomination from the pro-government Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan to be its candidate and seek a second term in office in next month's election.
When accepting the nomination at the party's congress in Tashkent on September 9, Mirziyoev vowed to implement more reforms after receiving sharp criticism from activists who say he failed to make deep changes in the country in his first term, which was notable for its crackdown on dissent in Central Asia's most-populous nation of 35 million.
Mirziyoev, who is expected to easily win the October 24 election over four other men widely seen as token candidates, promised that if he wins a second five-year term he will work on making high-speed Internet accessible in every home, more than double per capita income to $4,000 from $1,700, and help ensure the personal protection of journalists.
The Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan was used by Mirziyoev's predecessor, Islam Karimov, to get reelected many times during his tenure, which lasted from before the collapse of the Soviet Union until his death in 2016.
Since taking over the country, Mirziyoev has tried to position himself as a reformer by releasing political prisoners and opening his country to its neighbors and beyond. His critics say, however, he has failed on many fronts.
For example, Mirziyoev has said he is not against having opposition political groups in Uzbekistan, yet it has been impossible for independent candidates to register their candidacies for the presidential election.