On February 21, Tajik president Emomali Rahmon proposed to reshuffle the Central Commission for Elections and Referenda (CCER), the country’s main election body. The list of proposed changes to the CCER’s senior management team was sent to the lower chamber of the parliament, which formally appoints members of the Commission.
President’s proposals include replacing CCER’s long-term chairperson, Mirzoali Boltuev (“in connection with his retirement”), with Shermuhammad Shohiyon. The latter was elected to the Tajik parliament in February 2010, as member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDPT), the ruling party headed by the president. He is now heading the parliament’s committee for security and defense. Other proposed changes include dismissing the Commission’s deputy chairperson, Mizrob Kabirov, and two panel members, Nizomiddin Zohidov and Saymurod Tagoev, “in connection with transfer to other jobs.” President Rahmon recommends that the parliament appoint Karomatullo Holikov, presently the Dean of the Law Faculty, Tajik National University, as new deputy chairman of the CCER. In addition, Rahmon proposes to appoint head of the trade unions in Sughd province Saidboy Zokirov, Ministry of Health official Rahmon Ziyo, and Public Council secretary Nurali Saidov as new members of the CCER (www.president.tj, February 21, 2011).
The February 28 election to Tajikistan’s lower house of parliament predictably ended in a landslide victory for the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDPT), headed by President Emomali Rakhmon. With 43 elected party members and 12 nominally independent candidates that had been fielded and supported by the party, the PDPT has extended its control of the 63-seat parliament for another five years. The remaining eight seats went to the Agrarian Party (APT), Communist Party (CPT), Islamic Revival Party (IRPT) and the Party of Economic Reforms (PERT) which will be represented in the parliament with two seats each. Another three parties – the Democratic Party (DPT), Social-Democratic Party (SDPT) and Socialist Party (SPT) – failed to pass the electoral threshold.
International observers and opposition parties have accused the authorities of widespread fraud. The election monitoring arm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said the polls failed to meet many key international standards for democratic elections. The election watchdog’s sizeable team of observers reported “serious irregularities”, including massive family and proxy voting, ballot stuffing, voting without proper identification, media bias in favor of the ruling party, and most notably flawed vote counting and tabulation processes. A statement from the United States embassy in Dushanbe noted similar irregularities observed by its staff present at various polling stations.