Uzbekistan All Set For Parliamentary Elections

TASHKENT, Dec 26 (Bernama) — When Uzbekistan holds its parliamentary elections Sunday, more than 200 foreign observers from 36 countries and four international organisations, including the Organisation of Islamic Conference, will be monitoring the election process to ensure its “openness.”
Chairman of Uzbekistan’s Central Election Commission M Abdusalomov said that some 40 foreign journalists had also been invited to participate in the election where more than 17 million people have registered as voters.
“In ensuring the openness of the election, the observers have been invited to monitor the election process,” he told a briefing for foreign observers and journalists, here Saturday.
Abdusalomov said that the 517 candidates from four parties contesting for 150 seats had been given wide and equal opportunities to reach out to voters.
“The parties were given wide and equal conditions to campaign via the electronic and print media,” he said.
He said that apart from this, the parties were also given the rights to hold meetings with voters to make them more aware of the candidates, pointing out that for the Dec 27 elections, more than 19,000 of such meetings were held.
The four parties contesting are the People’s Democratic Party, Adolat (Justice) Social Democratic Party, Liberal Democratic Party (Movement of Entrepreneurs and Businessmen) and the Milliy Tiklanish (National Revival) Democratic Party.
He said that the People’s Party would put up 134 candidates. Adolat (123), Liberal Democratic Party (135) and Milliy Tiklanish (125).
One special aspect of the election process is a provision where people in poor health could vote from their residence.
“The commission will arrange for these people to vote from their houses,” the chairman said.
A four four-member Malaysian observer team led by Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar had also been invited to observe the Dec 27 elections.
Together with the other international observers they will monitor the conduct and the outcome of the election to ascertain whether it is free or fair.
The other three members of the team are Asean Law Association of Malaysia honorary secretary S.Radhakrishnan, Perdasama president Datuk Moehamad Izat Emir and senior lawyer Kamarudin Ahmad.
Radhakrishnan when approached by Bernama after the briefing, commended the special aspect where voters with poor health could vote from their residence.
He said that the election process in this country of 27 million people was similar to that of Malaysia but this special feature, which Malaysia did not have, is commendable.
Radhakrishan, who was also an observer in the 2004 Parliamentary elections, said that the election commissions of both countries have a very close cooperation.
“Being a young country they work closely with Malaysia’s Election Commission and admires it,” he said.
According to Radhkrishnan, another feature is where rooms are provided for mothers with children at the more than 800 polling stations.
“Mothers can leave their children in these rooms where there are toys for them to play with and officials to take care of them while they vote,” he said.
He said that this was part of the Uzbekistan government’s initiatives to encourage the people to vote.
In the scenic city of Samarkand, one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, a room at one of the polling stations for mothers with children was gaily decorated with balloons.
The official in charge of the polling station Kulmatov Olim Imamovich said that “everything is set for the election.”
Uzbekistan, a country 447,400 sq km in size, is surrounded by Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
The republic declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and joined a grouping of former Soviet republics known as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).