Polls close in Tajikistan vote seen as easy win for Rahmon

  • Date of Publication : 12/10/2020 at 07:25 GMT
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Vote counting is under way in Tajikistan after a presidential election that is expected to make incumbent Emomali Rahmon the longest-serving ruler in the former Soviet region.

Polling stations opened at 6am local time (01:00 GMT) on Sunday and closed at 8pm (15:00 GMT), with results expected the following morning.

The Central Electoral Commission said the vote had passed the turnout threshold required for validation, with more than 70 percent of the nearly five million strong electorate casting votes.

Few are anticipating any hiccups for Rahmon as he closes in on three decades in power and looks to overtake Kazakhstan’s recently retired Nursultan Nazarbayev in the regional longevity stakes.

Rahmon, 68, has run the Persian-speaking nation of 9.5 million people since 1992, a period including a civil war. He has gradually strengthened his grip and a 2016 constitutional reform removed a limit on the number of terms he could serve.

He faces four other candidates, all of whom are viewed as token opponents, in his bid for a fresh seven-year term. All challengers are members of the docile lower house of parliament and have avoided criticising Rakhmon, whose official title is “Founder of Peace and National Unity – Leader of the Nation.”

Though they say they are in the race to win, their campaign staff privately admit they have little chance of garnering any significant vote count.

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