Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 189

Tajikistan’s presidential election, its balloting scheduled for November 6, has unraveled beyond repair. The authorities, controlled by incumbent President Imomali Rahmonov, have prevented other presidential aspirants from registering. These include Economics and Foreign Trade Minister Dovlat Usmonov of the Islamic Rebirth Party (IRP), Sulton Kuvvatov of the Democratic Party-Astana platform and Saifiddin Turaev of the Justice Party. Rahmonov will, it seems, run unopposed. He has the support of his People’s Democratic Party, the Communist Party and Russia.

The Islamic Rebirth Party is the backbone of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO), which participates in the current government of national unity as a junior partner to Rahmonov’s camp. Usmon is the nominee of the UTO and its components: the IRP, the Democratic Party-Tehran platform (a secular group) and the Lali Badahshon movement in the Badahshon Autonomous Region. His elimination suggests that Tajikistan’s national government unity fits the type classically described by British historian Hugh Seton-Watson as a “bogus coalition,” in which Moscow’s proteges dominate their nominal partners and fully control the decisionmaking processes.

Under Tajikistan’s electoral law, each presidential candidate is required to present at least 145,000 valid signatures of registered voters to be registered as a candidate. The signature-collecting period began only in late September because the authorities had until then delayed the legal registration of the main nominating parties. The authorities then undertook “guerrilla attacks” on the collecting of signatures. At the candidates’ insistence, the Central Electoral Commission agreed to extend the registration deadline from October 6 to October 12. The authorities continued their sabotage, however, preventing the would-be candidates from gathering more than insignificant numbers of signatures.

Under the circumstances, the three candidates withdrew from the race yesterday. At a joint news conference they also urged voters to ignore the one-candidate election. They then appealed to the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Contact Group–made up of the countries-guarantor of the inter-Tajik peace agreements–to declare the upcoming single-candidate election invalid (Itar-Tass, Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Mashhad), Dushanbe Radio and Television, AP, October 8-12; see the Monitor, September 28).

The Monitor is a publication of the Jamestown Foundation. It is researched and written under the direction of senior analysts Jonas Bernstein, Vladimir Socor, Stephen Foye, and analysts Ilya Malyakin, Oleg Varfolomeyev and Ilias Bogatyrev. If you have any questions regarding the content of the Monitor, please contact the foundation. If you would like information on subscribing to the Monitor, or have any comments, suggestions or questions, please contact us by e-mail at, by fax at 301-562-8021, or by postal mail at The Jamestown Foundation, 4516 43rd Street NW, Washington DC 20016. Unauthorized reproduction or redistribution of the Monitor is strictly prohibited by law. Copyright (c) 1983-2002 The Jamestown Foundation Site Maintenance by Johnny Flash Productions