Referendum to amend the Constitution reportedly set for May 22

09/02/2016 13:44
Avaz Yuldoshev
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DUSHANBE, February 9, 2016, Asia-Plus /Avaz Yuldoshev/ -- An official source at Tajikistan’s lower house (Majlisi Namoyandagon) of parliament says the referendum to amend the Constitution has been set for May 22.

According to him, the date of the referendum will be announced tomorrow at a regular sitting of the second session of Majlisi Namoyandagon of the fifth convocation.

We will recall that deputies of Majlisi Namoyandagon discussed and endorsed amendments offered to the country’s Constitution on January 22.

Twenty-seven deputies of Majlisi Namoyandagon and sixteen members of Majlisi Milli (Tajikistan’s upper chamber of parliament) have reportedly participated in drafting the constitutional amendments.

One of the amendments says that incumbent president Emomali Rahmon, who was designated as the Leader of the Nation, can be elected head of state unlimited times.

Part 4 of Article 65 says that one person cannot be elected consecutively to the position of President for more than two terms of office (Amended in 2003).

The offered amendment says that restrictions provided for by Part 4 of Article 65 do not apply to the Leader of the Nation.

We will recall that Majlisi Namoyandagon voted December 9 to establish Emomali Rahmon as “Leader of the Nation.”   Even after he leaves office, Rahmon will be entitled to address the nation and state officials on matters of security, as well as domestic and foreign policy.  He can also attend government meetings, National Security Council gatherings and parliament sessions. Most importantly, Rahmon will enjoy veto authority over all important state decisions.

Besides, they propose to lower the minimum age required to be elected President of the Republic of Tajikistan.

The current minimum age required to be elected the President of Tajikistan is 35.  Thus, Article 65 of Constitution of Tajikistan states that every citizen of Tajikistan who has been resident in Tajikistan for not less than the past ten years and who has reached the age of 35 may be elected President.

The amendment offered to the Constitution provides for lowering the minimum age required to be elected President of Tajikistan to 30.

If this amendment is endorsed, it will give Rustam Emomali, the eldest son of President Rahmon, the right to be nominated to run for president in 2020.

Rustam Emomali was born on December 19, 1987 and he will be only 33 in 2020. 

Meanwhile, one of the offered constitutional amendments concerns the Constitution’s article on political parties (ban on registration of political parties of religious nature).

According to Article 28 of Tajikistan’s Constitution, citizens shall have the right of association.  “A citizen shall have the right to participate in the creation of political parties, including the parties of religious, democratic and atheistic nature, trade unions, and other social associations and to voluntarily join and withdraw from them.”

They propose to exclude the notion “parties of religious nature” from the article.

One of the amendments offered to the Constitution provides for setting the minimum age required to be elected deputy of Majlisi Namoyandagon and member of Majlisi Milli at 30.

Article 49 of Tajikistan’s Constitution says that citizens not younger than 25 years shall be elected to Majlisi Namoyandagon and citizens who reached 35 years of age and have higher education shall be eligible to be elected to Majlisi Milli.

They also propose to set the minimum age required to be elected judge of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court and the High Economic Court at 30.

One of the amendments provides for abolishing the Council of Justice (Shuroi Adliya).

The Constitution provides for unitarianism, strong presidential power, status of the Tajik language as state language, status of the Russian language as language of interethnic communication, and autonomy of the Gorno Badakhshan Region.   

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