Voting Irregularities Documented In Tajik Elections

By RFE/RL's Tajik Service

March 01, 2015

Apparent voting irregularities have been documented as Tajikistan held parliamentary elections, including widespread cases where one person was casting ballots for an entire family, a lack of election monitors, and instances where volunteer poll workers advised people who to vote for.

The Central Election Commission said more than 82 percent of the 4.3 million registered voters had cast a ballot, well over the 50 percent turnout needed to make the election valid.

The ballot comes after a campaign that international monitors described as flawed.

Nearly 300 candidates from eight political parties are contesting 63 seats in the lower house of parliament, the Majlisi Namoyandagon.

President Emomali Rahmon's People's Democratic Party, which currently controls 55 of the 63 seats, is widely expected to win by a landslide.

The main political rival to the ruling party has been the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRPT), the only officially registered Islamic party in Central Asia.

The IRPT and the Social Democratic Party are vocal critics of the government, while other parties describe themselves as constructive opposition and openly support government policies.

In an interim report, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said the IRPT and the Social Democrats had reported being subject to political pressure during the run-up to the vote.

The OSCE also expressed concerns about the lack of a level playing field for campaigning.

WATCH: RFE/RL's Tajik Service documented some of the irregularities reported on March 1: 

No election held under Rahmon -- who has been Tajikistan's president since 1994 -- has been deemed free or fair by Western observers.

Rahmon cast his vote in Dushanbe on March 1 without speaking to reporters.

Results are expected to be published on March 2.

With reporting by AFP and dpa