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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 13:44 GMT
Tajik ruling party wins election
By Monica Whitlock
BBC News, Tajikistan

Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov votes in the election
Observers were disappointed with the election process
The party of Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmonov has won an overwhelming victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections.

The central election commission said that the People's Democratic Party won 80% of the vote, with 88% of the electorate turned out.

The results mean the party will hold almost all the seats in parliament.

But international monitors said the election failed to meet acceptable standards, calling it disappointing.

The main runner up, the Islamic Party, won just 10% of the votes, as did the communist party.

They will probably hold now six of the parliament's 63 seats between them - hardly a strong opposition block.

Violations cited

Even before the results were out, international monitors expressed their disappointment with the whole process.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said the government had had excessive control over the campaign from the start, while, on the day, it reported numerous violations including manipulation of the count and obstruction of observers.

The great majority of Tajiks will not believe the election commission's results.

Those who voted for opposition parties were mostly young people full of hopes for a better Tajikistan.

They will feel sorely cheated.

To the many Tajiks who stayed at home on Sunday saying they did not believe in the election, the results will appear to confirm all their suspicions.

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