Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

Voters in Uzebekistan are casting ballots in a referendum on a revised structure that guarantees human rights reforms

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan — Voters in Uzebekistan, essentially the most populous former Soviet Central Asian republic, forged ballots Sunday in a referendum on a revised structure that guarantees human rights reforms however that additionally would permit the nation’s president to remain in workplace till 2040.

Approval seems sure. Backers have carried out an array of promotional occasions that includes native celebrities, and elections in Uzbekistan are broadly considered noncompetitive.

With 4 hours till the polls closed, the central elections fee reported turnout at greater than 62%, nicely above the 50% threshold for the referendum to be legitimate.

The proposed modifications embody lengthening the presidential time period from 5 to seven years, whereas retaining the present two-term restrict. Though President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is in his second time period, the change in time period size would permit him to run twice extra after his present tenure ends in 2026.

Different modifications embody abolishing capital punishment and boosting authorized protections for residents, together with these accused of crimes.

Beneath Mirziyoyev’s predecessor, Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan was one of many area’s most repressive international locations. Mirziyoyev, who took over after Karimov died in 2016, touts the constitutional modifications as displaying that Uzbekistan will make freedoms and human rights paramount.

The referendum initially was deliberate for final yr, however was delay within the wake of lethal unrest within the Karakalpakstan area when it was introduced that the modifications would come with rescinding Karakalpakstan’s proper to vote on whether or not to secede.

Though the probability of secession could be very small, that proposal angered residents of the poor and environmentally beleaguered republic that makes up a 3rd of Uzbekistan’s territory however has solely about 5% of the nation’s 36 million folks. Mass unrest broke out within the Karakalpak capital, Nukus; not less than 18 folks died in clashes with police.

The brand new bundle being voted on Sunday retains the Karakalpakstan secession proper.

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