Voters in Uzbekistan head to the polls Sunday for early presidential elections

Ghada El Sharkawy from Tashkent , Saturday 8 Jul 2023

Voters across Uzbekistan are preparing to exercise their democratic rights by heading to the polls Sunday in the early presidential elections, called by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev following the adoption of the new constitution through a referendum in May.



The candidate nomination process concluded in early June, resulting in the announcement of four candidates including the incumbent president Mirziyoyev, who was first elected in 2016, representing the Liberal Democratic Party,

The constitutional changes allow Mirziyoyev, 65, who was already re-elected in 2021, to serve two more terms.

The three hopefuls standing against him on Sunday are Ulugbek Inoyatov from the People's Democratic Party, Robakhon Makhmudova representing the Justice Social Democratic Party (the sole female candidate) and Abdushukur Khamzaev from the Ecological Party.

Each candidate has outlined their unique priorities and programmes. President Mirziyoyev aims to achieve sustainable economic growth, double the GDP and exports' volume, ensure clean drinking water, improve internet speed and reform the labor migration system.

Ulugbek Inoyatov, the former minister of education, focuses on social justice and has proposed the imposition of taxes on luxury items.

Robakhon Makhmudova, the current deputy chairman of the Supreme Court, promises to support entrepreneurs, while Abdushukur Khamzaev of the Ecological Party emphasizes environmental protection.

Some 19.8 million people are eligible to vote out of a total population of 36 million.

International organizations and foreign countries will observe the elections, including a delegation from Egypt consisting of Ambassador Ezzat Saad El-Sayed, Mohamed Youssef from the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Taher from the Egyptian Businessmen Association, and Adel Abdel Rahman El-Assoumi, the president of the Arab Parliament.

Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic, is Central Asia's most populous country, rich in natural gas and with a strategic location bordering Afghanistan.

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