Tag Archives: Tajikistan

Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan – Presidents Rahmon and Atambaev meet to resolve border tensions

Tajik border guards block the de facto entrance to the Tajik exclave of Vorukh.

Last Thursday, the Tajik president, Emomalii Rahmon, and his Kyrgyz counterpart, Almazbek Atambayev, met in Moscow on the sidelines of the informal meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to discuss the violent incident that had taken place at the border between the two countries the day before, injuring some 30 people. As reported by RFE/RL, on 7th May the 2,500 inhabitants of two villages, Kok Tash in Kyrgyzstan and Vorukh in the Tajikistan enclave, started throwing stones at each other. The incident escalated, several people were injured, and a store in the village of Zhaka-Oruk, some 30 kilometers from Kok-Tash, was set on fire. The road that connects the two countries was closed by residents on both sides of the border, though that section of the Osh-Isfara road has been closed for most of this year due to tensions in the area.

Unlike Tajikistan, which went through a long civil war during the 1990s, and south Kyrgyzstan, where the city of Osh is symbol of ethnic tensions, this area has never been home of major disorder. However a number of incidents, which attracted national and international attention, have taken place since the beginning of 2014 because of a contested road construction project. At the very centre of the disorder is the Tajik enclave of Vorukh in southern Kyrgyzstan. Here, on 11th January, Kyrgyz and Tajik border forces fired shots and two of the former and three of the latter were injured. Later, each accused the other of starting it. Vorukh is home to around 40,000 ethnic Tajiks, and Kyrgyz residents living on either side of it used to have to drive through it to get to different parts of the Kyrgyz region of Batken. To avoid the occasional frictions this caused, the Kyrgyz authorities are building a road intended to bypass the enclave completely. In January, the reaction of each government was to put the blame fully on the other without meeting, whereas this time the two presidents met and agreed to solve the issue of demarcation and delimitation of the common border in order to avoid further incidents. They also noted that the issue should be solved at the level of the governments of the two countries.

The Tajik and Kyrgyz governments generally enjoy good relations, in stark contrast to relations that both have with Uzbekistan, which also has common borders and enclaves within the region of Batken. This means that while the two governments often act together to defuse tensions on the ground. The region still remains a very complex and potentially conflictual area.

Tajikistan – Parliament approves new government

The Tajik National Assembly approved the new government after the current President, Emomali Rahmon, was confirmed in office for the seventh time in last November’s presidential election. On Monday, the representatives of the President read before the Parliament the presidential decrees appointing the new Prime Minister, his deputies and ministers. According to the Tajik Constitution indeed, the government have to resign following every presidential election, in order to allow the newly elected President to form a new executive. However the resigned members have to fulfil their duties till a new government is appointed by the President. Thus, in November and December, Rahmon has replaced former ministers and appointed a new Prime Minister, whose powers however become effective after the national assembly’s approval. The Parliament endorsed the new government and the President’s new appointments by the majority of votes. Nine members of the Parliament’s Upper Chamber had to resign in order to take over their new governmental roles. Beyond being deputies of the National Assembly, some of them also hold positions in the business sectors or in the public administration. As reported by the Central Asian News Service, the new government consists of 22 members. This is the composition of the new government:

  1. Kohir Rasulzoda – Prime Minister;
  2. Saidov Davlatali Shomahmadovich – First Deputy Prime Minister;
  3. Murodali Alimardon – Deputy Prime Minister;
  4. Jabborova Marhabo Tuhtasunovna – Deputy Prime Minister;
  5. Azim Ibrokhim – Deputy Prime Minister;
  6. Mengliev Rustam Shomurodovich – Minister of Justice;
  7. Qosimov Qosim Rohbarovich – Minister of Agriculture;
  8. Rakhimov Ramazon Hamroevich – Minister of Interior Affairs;
  9. Aslov Sirodjidin Muhridinovich – Minister of Foreign Affairs;
  10. Saidov Nuriddin Saidovich – Minister of Education and Science;
  11. Tagoeva Sumangul Saidovna – Minister of Labour, Migration and Employment;
  12. Kurbonov Abdusalom Karimovich – Minister of Finance;
  13. Sherali Mirzo – Minister of Defense;
  14. Asoev Hairullo Asoevich – Minister of Transport;
  15. Sharif Rahimzoda – Minister of Economic Development and Trade;
  16. Salimov Nusratullo Faizulloevich – Minister of Health and Social Welfare;
  17. Orumbekov Shamsiddin Shodibekovich – Minister of Culture;
  18. Usmanov Usmonali Yunusalievich – Minister of Energy and Water Resources;
  19. Boboev Shavkat Boboradjabovich – Minister of Industry and New Technologies;
  20. Yatimov Saimumin Sattorovich – Chairman of the State Committee for National Security;
  21. Zokirov Mahmadtoir – Chairman of the State Committee for Land Management and Geodesy;
  22. Kodiri Qosim – Chairman of the State Committee for Investments and State Property Management.

 

Tajikistan – Emomali Rahmov re-elected

Tajikistan re-elected the incumbent president of the Republic, Emomali Rahmov, in Wednesday’s presidential election. Rahmov will now serve for another presidential term. He has led the Central Asian country since 1992 and brought back peace after civil war in 1997.

Tajikistan is a post-Soviet presidential republic whose president has strong powers compared to the Parliament and who has control over the judiciary system. Presidents can seek re-election for two seven-year terms. Thanks to the 2006 constitutional reform, Rahmov is serving for his second and last term. The president is directly elected by the absolute majority of votes cast. It is reported that Rahmov obtained nearly 84% of the votes and that 87% of the population voted. The Constitution establishes that more than half of the registered voters must vote for the election to be valid. According to national authorities, competing candidate Olimjon Boboev obtained 3.8% of the votes; Tolibek Buhoriev, 4.5%;  Abdukhalim Gaffurov, 1.5%; Saidjafar Ismonov, 1%; and Ismoil Talbakov, 5%.

Rahmov competed against five candidates, whose names and programs were hardly known to the public as these reports by BBC Persian and RFE/RL show. As denounced by Human Rights Watch, opposition candidates had no or only restricted access to media and newspapers and some of them have been arrested or forced to give up the candidacy. In April 2013, Said Saidov, a businessman and former industry minister, announced the establishment of a new opposition political force named New Tajikistan. In May, Saidov was arrested. Another candidate, Oynikhol Bobonazarova, was nominated by the opposition coalition Union of Progressive Forces, but the signatures supporting her candidacy were found not to be valid. RFE/RL also reported some irregularities in electoral procedures. In Tajikistan, there is only one TV channel with national coverage, the state-owned Tajik TV, and one daily newspaper, ‘Emrouz’ (Today’s News). Despite the growing importance of Internet, Tajik citizens find it hard to have access to it because of the poor electric network, which has no national coverage, and because of state control. Before the election day, two online news portals, YouTube and Ozodegan website, were blocked. The authorities have not commented on this Internet blackout.

Despite being a multi-party system (there were eight registered parties) and despite the presence of six candidates, Tajik elections can hardly be considered free and fair according to international observers. Nevertheless, the president has announced on several public occasions that this was meant to be the most free and democratic presidential race since independence. A similar opinion was expressed by Sergey Lebedev, the head of the observer mission from the Conferederation of Independent States.

Elections in Tajikistan are crucial for stability in the region, considering the draw-down of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force from Afghanistan in 2014. Tajikistan neighbours Afghanistan and is close to Northern Pakistan, a very sensitive area for counter-insurgency operations. Furthermore, Tajikistan is home to a large Uzbek minority and neighbours South Kyrgyzstan, where low-intensity clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks take place regularly.