94.5% of those who cast ballots voted for amendments proposed to the Constitution

23/05/2016 11:30
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, May 23, 2016, Asia-Plus – 94.5 percent of those who cast valid ballots have reportedly voted for amendments proposed to the country’s Constitution.

The Central Commission for Elections and Referenda (CCER) today announced the preliminary results of Tajikistan’s constitutional referendum that took place on May 22.

“The voter turnout was 92 percent as 4,038,183 citizens of Tajikistan cast their votes yesterday,” CCER head Bakhtiyor Khudoyorzoda told reporters.

According to him, 94.5 percent (3,477,183 people) of those who cast valid ballots voted for amendments proposed to the country’s Constitution and 3.3 percent (134,171) voted against the amendments.

We will recall that the constitutional referendum included 41 proposed amendments and voters could either vote "yes" or "no" to the package of amendments.  It was not possible to vote on individual amendments.

The most important proposed amendments included eliminating the term limit for incumbent President Emomali Rahmon, lowering the age of eligibility to become president, and banning the creation of political parties based on religion.

The term-limit amendment applies only to Emomali Rahmon, who owns the status of the “Leader of the Nation.” 

Lowering the presidential age limit from 35 to 30 could position Rahmon's 29-year-old son, Rustam Emomali, for an early succession.

The last referendum in Tajikistan took place in 2003 and changed the one-term limit for the president to a two-term limit.

Tajikistan's previous referendum was in September 1999 and experts consider that it was probably the most important referendum Tajikistan ever held.

That one approved the legalization of religious political parties.  It was necessary because the peace deal that ended Tajikistan's 1992-97 civil war stipulated that members of the opposition, the bulk of whom were from the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan, would receive places in government.  That referendum also approved lengthening the presidential term in office from five to seven years and later, on that basis, President Rahmon declared that the first two presidential terms did not count as part of the two-term limit.  

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