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Last Updated: Friday, 3 November 2006, 14:13 GMT
Q&A: Tajik election
Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov
Emomali Rakhmonov is seeking another seven years in office

Some 3.2m voters go to the polls in Tajikistan on 6 November to elect a president for the third time since independence in 1991.

The incumbent President Emomali Rakhmonov, who has been in power for almost 14 years, is seeking another seven-year term in office.

Q: Who are the candidates?

President Emomali Rakhmonov of the governing People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan (PDPT).

Having won a five-year presidential term in 1994, Mr Rakhmonov initiated a nationwide referendum in 1999 to allow his term to be extended to seven years - and succeeded, despite a boycott by most of the opposition. Later that year, Mr Rakhmonov was re-elected for a second consecutive term by a landslide.

In another popular vote in 2003, Tajikistan approved more constitutional changes virtually allowing the incumbent president to stay in power until 2020. Parliament also annulled a law stating that the president should not be older than 65.

Abduhalim Ghafforov, an Education Ministry official, who leads the officially registered Socialist Party of Tajikistan. The original Socialist Party of Tajikistan led by Mirhuseyn Nazriyev was denied registration by the Justice Ministry.

Amir Qoraqulov of the Agrarian Party of Tajikistan.

Olimjon Boboyev of the Party of Economic Reforms of Tajikistan.

The agrarian and economic reform parties were registered by the authorities in November 2005, amid allegations that they were just puppets of the government.

Ismoil Talbakov who leads the Communist Party of Tajikistan.

All four opposition candidates are little known politicians who have never publicly criticised Mr Rakhmonov. They have decided to join forces and campaign as one team in various parts of Tajikistan.

Q: What are the issues?

President Rakhmonov is pledging to further strengthen peace and national unity and improve the country's infrastructure. Other parties are campaigning for agricultural and economic reform, or a return to the socialist system.

The International Crisis Group says nobody doubts a victory for Mr Rakhmonov in the absence of real opposition. The opposition candidates say they are standing in order to gain publicity for their parties and win supporters.

Q: Are all parties taking part?

Islamic Rebirth Party of Tajikistan. The IRPT is the most influential opposition party in Tajikistan but is not fielding its own candidate, citing imperfections in the election law and distrust of the central electoral commission.

The opposition Democratic Party of Tajikistan (DPT) is boycotting the poll in protest at the referendum extending the president's term of office. The DPT once formed the backbone of the former United Tajik Opposition along with the IRPT.

The Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan (SDPT), led by the former Rakhmonov adviser Rahmatullo Zoirov, is also staying away, saying that Mr Rakhmonov's nomination is "against the constitution".

Q: What is the voting system?

The president is popularly elected for a renewable term of seven years. Victory is by a simple majority. If no candidate obtains an absolute majority, a run-off is held between the two highest-polling candidates.

The presidential election is declared valid if more than 50% of the electorate cast their votes.

Q: What about local media coverage?

Broadcasting is dominated by state-run radio and TV. More than 200 newspapers are registered, some of which are government-owned.

The Social Democratic Party and the Democratic Party have accused Tajik TV of failing to provide balanced coverage. Mr Rakhmonov is widely praised as a "wise and enlightened" leader in numerous video features shown regularly by Tajik TV.

Q: Are there any international observers?

More than 700 observers from the CIS Executive Committee and international organizations as well as about 15,000 local observers will be monitoring the election process.

Q: When will the results be known?

The deadline for the announcement of the final election results is 16 November.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




SEE ALSO
Country profile: Tajikistan
29 Oct 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Tajikistan
21 Aug 06 |  Country profiles



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