The Tajik government prepares to introduce a constitutional reform process which, according to analysts, will alter the country’s political system, possibly paving the way for President Rahmon’s son to succeed him as the country’s leader in 2020.
On February 13, the head of the government-run Strategic Research Centre (SRC) Suhrob Sharipov told Radio Ozodi that the SRC had developed a series of amendments to the country’s constitution from 1994 and submitted them to the president’s office for review. Sharipov suggested that the proposed amendments aimed at transforming Tajikistan’s “governing structure” to bring it in line with “modern trends and realities”.
The announcement of the imminent reform was apparently not cleared with the country’s leadership. On February 14, the day after the announcement, Sharipov’s deputy, Sayfullo Safarov, denied that his boss had ever discussed possible constitutional amendments with the media. Safarov said the SRC was not aware of any government plans to amend the country’s constitution. “Ideas about potential amendments to certain provisions of the constitution have been extensively discussed by media over the last several years”, he said. These ideas included introducing constitutional safeguards against nepotism and regional favoritism, and amending education-related articles, following the country’s shift to a 12-year education system. However, Safarov stressed, these were “just ideas”.