BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 24 December 2007, 15:24 GMT
Uzbek president wins third term
Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov (file photo)

The President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, has been declared the winner of Sunday's general election.

He won 88.1% of the vote in a poll which foreign election monitors said failed to meet democratic standards.

Under the Uzbek constitution Mr Karimov has already had the maximum two terms in office. He has given no explanation as to why he was able to run again.

He has allowed little opposition during his 17 years in power and banned all independent parties and media groups.

Mr Karimov faced what was largely seen as token opposition in Sunday's election, from three virtually unknown candidates.

The president himself barely campaigned, and all the other candidates praised his running of the economy. They did not explicitly ask Uzbeks to vote for them.

All independent media groups and political parties are banned in Uzbekistan.

'Undemocratic'

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said the election had been "held in a strictly controlled political environment, leaving no room for real opposition".

Voters cast their ballots in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
OSCE said there was no real choice for voters in the elections

"The election generally failed to meet many OSCE commitments for democratic elections," said a statement from the organisation.

The OSCE sent only a small team of observers to monitor the elections because they said the lack of opposition rendered a larger team pointless.

The organisation also questioned the officially-stated turnout figure of 90.6%, saying their observers saw only a "small number of voters".

This "raises further concerns regarding the accuracy of the reporting of results," it said.

Monitors from Russia, an Uzbek ally, and other CIS states said they had seen no evidence of vote-rigging.

Uzbekistan's land borders were closed during the polls and people reported an increased police presence in major cities.

Oppressive rule

Map

Foreign media is not allowed inside Uzbekistan but the BBC's Natalia Antelava, reporting from nearby Krygyzstan, said that many people were afraid to vote for anyone other than the president.

Mr Karimov, who has ruled Uzbekistan since before independence in 1990, has received widespread international criticism for what is described as an oppressive leadership and for allegedly sanctioning human rights abuses.

In 2005, Mr Karimov ordered a crackdown on protesters in the city of Andijan which resulted in the deaths of several hundred people including women and children.

Mr Karimov has insisted that the security forces killed only 189 Islamist militants.



RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific