Sunday in Tajikistan held a referendum on amendments to the Constitution that will allow the incumbent President Emomali Rahmon to be elected unlimited number of times, will reduce the minimum age for candidates from 35 to 30 years and would ban the establishment and activities of parties and movements of national and religious nature. The referendum was voted on already by 12 o’clock am local time in the voting was 2,933 million people that, according to the Commission, is 66.6% of the total number included in the lists. In accordance with the laws of the country the referendum can be considered valid, if it will vote more than 50% of the population.
Emomali Rahmon became President in 1994 during the civil war, which ended in a truce in 1997. He was re-elected in 1999, 2006 and 2013. In 1999 and 2003, the country held two referendums: the first increased the presidential term from four to seven years, the second was allowed to occupy the presidency not one, but two terms in a row. It is particularly stipulated that “the election of the President for two consecutive terms beginning after the termination of office of the President”. Thus, the victory of Rahmon in the presidential elections in 2006 “zeroed” his previous terms. In accordance with the new amendments, it will have the right to be elected President an unlimited number of times. His last election he won with the figure of 83.9% of the votes.
The referendum was preceded by the adoption of constitutional amendments by the Parliament. The country’s constitutional court last week ruled that the proposed changes correspond to the present stage of development of the state and society and aimed at strengthening the foundations of the constitutional order, guarantees the rights and freedoms of man and citizen”. The majority of voters in Dushanbe support the amendments to the Constitution, reports the Tajik news portal Asia-Plus. They are necessary to preserve the stability and prosperity of the country, say the citizens of the capital.
The positive results of the referendum would not be a surprise, but only will bring Tajikistan to establish an exclusive power of family type, says Russian political scientist along with the Kurts. In his opinion, because of the civil war Tajikistan with a delay repeats the fate of political reforms that were implemented in other States of Central Asia. “After the collapse of the Soviet Union there has changed including the national palette, and the care of the Russian population will only intensify the craving for Eastern despotic traditions”, — said the expert.
The new amendments not only allow Rahmon to nominate his candidacy for the presidency in 2020, but also will reduce the minimum age for candidates from 35 to 30 years. Reuters draws attention to the fact that the eldest son of Rahmon, Rustam Emomali is 28 and will turn 33 in 2020, when it will expire the current presidential term of his father. “This is done in order to protect yourself not only from the opposition but also from different plots, because, most likely, the power will be transmitted through the family line,” says Kurts. Rahmon’s daughter Ozoda in January was headed by the office of the President.
Amendments against the radicals
Other amendments to the Constitution include a ban on creation and activity of political parties and movements, national and religious nature. The Islamic Renaissance party, which existed from 1974 as the basis of the Islamic-democratic United Tajik opposition (UTO), up to 2015, was the only legal Islamic party in the former Soviet Union and the second most popular party in Tajikistan. In September 2015, the Supreme court of Tajikistan announced its “extremist terrorist organization” and banned its activities.
According to kurtova, the closure of channels for doing legal policy for the party with the religious tone may cause a radicalization of the population of Tajikistan, more than 98% of which are Muslims. “In the Muslim world in different States always appear radical movements, it was in the early 1990s that led to the civil war, and it’s going to happen now. Therefore, attempts to put under the full control of religious life in the not very rich country — it’s a big risk to state stability”, — says the expert.
According to political analyst Andrei Kazantsev, a lot depends on the situation in neighboring Afghanistan, because instability can easily go across the border. “We already have some support for radicals in Central Asia by a number of Arab monarchies. In addition, a dozen people who went there are hundreds of remaining supporters of radical Islamist ideas, and if these people are already receiving financial support from abroad, in the case of destabilization of the situation in Tajikistan, it can be a decisive factor”, says Kazantsev.
Kazantsev says that now sharply reduced the income from labor migration to Russia. According to the report of UNDP in 2014, poverty in Tajikistan is largely holding back funds sent by migrant workers. “Hope that the referendum will somehow soften the situation — prematurely,” says Kazantsev.
Authoritarianism with the decor
The campaign for the granting of new powers Rahmon in the country for a long time. In December last year he was awarded the status of founder of peace and unity and the leader of the nation. It guarantees that after the completion of the presidential term he is free from prosecution, can appeal to the people and to participate in state events. Tajikistan followed the example of Kazakhstan, where in 2010 the first in the CIS, this status of the leader of the nation received the permanent President Nursultan Nazarbayev. It is subject to the right an unlimited number of times to run for the highest leadership post to which he first was elected in 1991, and before that actually led the Republic since 1989.
One of the first existing leaders the right to run without timing constraints has received the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. This opportunity that it has given the citizens in a national referendum in 2004.
Limits no and the presidents of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.
De facto there is no such limitation and of the President of Uzbekistan, although, as pointed out by the OSCE, is contrary to the Constitution. His first presidential election, Islam Karimov won in 1991 with the index 86% of the vote, then the elections were held three times (in 2002, 2007 and 2015), two powers Karimov was extended by referendum. As noted by the OSCE in its report on the elections last year, article 90 of the Uzbek Constitution clearly limits the consecutive tenure of the President to two terms, however, the CEC registered the incumbent President in violation of the General principle of the rule of law. Karimov won, voted for him of 90.39%.
Thus, of the 11 countries of the Commonwealth of independent States (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine) in six no limit on the number of terms in power for one person, and three since the collapse of the USSR did not change the ruler.
In the result, we can talk about the formation of the post-Soviet space modes lifetime of autocracy with elements of democratic decor, says Russian expert Arkady Dubnov.
Political tribalism is, as in the United States and Europe, like the story of the families Bush and Kaczynski expert of the Center Carnegie Alexey Malashenko. However, the West used free an elective procedure and does not vote “on orders”, which makes possible the interruption of the dynasty, the expert notes. In his opinion, the continuity observed in the post-Soviet space, closer to authoritarianism and at the same time close to the ethno-cultural traditions.
The Russian approach
The Russian Constitution forbids the presidency to take the same person for two consecutive terms. First elected in 2000, Putin spoke against the amendment of the Constitution. In 2008 the post of President was won by Dmitry Medvedev, however, in 2011 not to run again was, giving it the right to Putin. Under President Medvedev adopted amendments to the Constitution, prodlitsya presidential powers from four to six years. The next elections will be held in 2018. Putin said that he does not know whether he would run.
With the participation of Marina Starodubtseva