Uzbekistan vote. PHOTO: Reuters

Voters in Uzbekistan head to the polls on Sunday for parliamentary elections seen as a test of the state’s commitment to democratic reforms following the death of the country’s long-time authoritarian leader three years ago.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was expected to observe Sunday’s voting and present its findings the following day.

The organization has repeatedly recommended reforms to Uzbekistan’s electoral process following previous votes.

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With the second largest economy of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, Uzbekistan had been led by only one president, Islam Karimov, for nearly three decades until his death in 2016.

The OSCE noted “serious irregularities,” including “indications of ballot stuffing,” in the 2016 election for Karimov’s successor, Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

During the previous parliamentary elections in 2014, the OSCE noted that Uzbekistan’s political atmosphere was “tightly controlled.”


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