By Agha Iqrar Haroon
Tashkent, Uzbekistan: People of Uzbekistan vote today (December 4, 2016) to elect their new president for next five years.
Over 9,000 polling stations have been established to cater 21 million registered voters in this landlocked Central Asian country that has a total population of 33 million.
Every polling station is equipped with a medical centre and a children play room along with traditional arrangements necessary for casting vote.
“Transparency for casting vote has been ensured by providing cabins to stamp the ballot paper secretly and then putting the stamped vote in a transparent ballot box”, commented a polling officer while briefing arrangements at his respective polling station.
All security arrangements have been finalized till the filing of this report (early morning of December 4, 2016). Meanwhile, polling stations have also been set up in 34 countries where Uzbeks live so they can go to their polling station stations set up by Uzbek embassies in these countries to cast their vote.
Monitoring rooms have been established in all 14 electoral districts to monitor voting process while Central Election Commission (CEC) of Uzbekistan shall monitor all district monitoring rooms.
It may be mentioned that there are over 21 million registered voters in Uzbekistan who will cast their vote to directly elect their new President in extraordinary and early Presidential Elections as former President Islam Karimov died this year on September 2. He was 79 when he had stroke and died in hospital.
Main runner for Presidential Elections is acting President who is also the Prime Minister of the country— Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Four political parties of Uzbekistan are allowed to contest in the presidential election including Uzbekistan Liberal Democratic Party (UzLiDeP), People’s Democratic Party (PDPU), Milly Tiklanish (National Revival) Party and Adolat (Justice) Social Democratic Party.
Acting President Shavkat Mirziyoyev from UzLiDeP is also among presidential candidates. Sarvar Otamuratov from Milly Tiklanish Party, Nariman Umarov from Adolat Party and Hotamzhon Ketmonov from PDPU are also in run for presidential slot.
According to the Uzbek legislation, the elections will be considered valid if no less than 33% of the voters take part in the process. A candidate receiving more than 50% of the vote will win the elections. According to rules, final and official results are released within ten days after the polling day but initial results are usually announced soon after the voting is over.
National newspapers are publishing different pre-polling day surveys those suggest that 97.5 percent registered voters are committed to cast their votes.