Emomali Rahmon wins Tajikistan presidential election
Tajikistan’s leader Emomali Rahmon is on course for a big victory garnering more than 90 percent of the vote following Sunday’s presidential election, the head of the central election commission said on Monday.
The win will allow Rahmon to pass 30 years in power and overtake Kazakhstan’s recently retired Nursultan Nazarbayev as the former Soviet Union’s longest-ruling leader.
The 68-year-old has run the nation of 9.5 million people since 1992, a period that included a civil war.
The head of the central election commission, Bahtiyar Hudayarzade, told a press conference that the voter turnout was 85.39% in Sunday’s election — 4.2 of 4.9 million registered voters exercised their democratic right.
As many as 3,375 polling stations were established in 68 constituencies.
Agrarian Party leader Rustam Latifzadeh received 3.03%, while Abduhalim Gafarov, the chairman of the Socialist Party of Tajikistan, got 1.49% of the votes.
Rustam Rahmatzoda, the leader of the Party of Economic Reforms, won the support of 2.15% of the voters, while Communist Party Chairman Miroj Abdulloyev secured 1.17% of the votes.
Although widely anticipated to secure another next seven-years in office, the poll was closely watched internationally after disputed elections in two other ex-Soviet republics sparked protests.
While disputed ballots in neighboring Kyrgyzstan and fellow former Soviet republic Belarus have triggered massive upheaval, similar developments appear unlikely in Tajikistan – a Persian-speaking nation of 9.5 million people.
However, Rahmon and his government face unprecedented challenges after the weakest economy of all Soviet successor states joined others in being battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
The bleak economic outlook also raises questions about how the government will be able to service external debt, equating to more than a third of GDP, with China a leading debt-holder.