Monday, December 22, 2014 8:56 pm
Uzbekistan on Monday announced a near 90-percent turnout in its weekend parliamentary election, a poll Western observers said lacked genuine competition.
All the parties in Sunday’s polls support President Islam Karimov, who has ruled the central Asian republic since the collapse of communism.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the vote was “competently administered but lacked genuine electoral competition and debate.”
Speaking at a news conference Monday, the head of the central election commission Mirza-Ulugbek Abdusalomov said there was no outright winner in 22 of the 135 districts.
Abdusalomov said runoff elections would be held at a later date in each of the districts where no candidate won the absolute majority.
More than 18 million people voted in the poll, 88 percent of the electorate.
There are 150 seats in Uzbekistan’s national legislature, the Oliy Majlis.
Four parties — the Liberal Democratic Party, People’s Democratic Party, the Democratic Party Milly Tiklanish (National Revival) and the Social Democratic Party “Adolat” (Justice) — competed to fill 135 seats.
The remaining 15 seats will automatically go to the country’s Ecological Movement, founded in 2008 and composed of activists from pro-government environmental groups and the health sector.
“The four contesting parties, all supportive of and supported by the government, are complementary rather than competitive,” Daan Everts, head of OSCE mission, told reporters in Tashkent.