By Agha Iqrar Haroon
Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Over 21 million voters are ready to exercise right to vote in Uzbek Presidential Elections while the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Uzbekistan has finalised all arrangements to conduct extraordinary early Presidential elections on December 4, 2016.
There are over 21 million registered voters in Uzbekistan who look excited to cast their vote to directly elect their new President. These are first Presidential Elections in the history of Uzbekistan without late President Islam Karimov being a candidate. Late President Karimov died this year on September 2 in the age of 79.
Pre-polling day surveys suggest that 97.5 percent registered voters are committed to take part in elections on December 4, 2016 and consider forthcoming polls as “extraordinary and very important for the future of the country”.
Uzbek Central Election Commission (CEC) has set up 9, 318 polling stations in 14 electoral districts of this landlocked country of Central Asia where 21 million registered voters are scheduled to cast their votes on December 4 by exercising their constitutional right of electing new president of the country.
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.
While briefing journalists and international observers on December 2, 2016, CEC Chairman Mirza-Ulugbek Abdusalomov said that CEC has (had) finalised arrangements to conduct elections on December 4, 2016 in accordance with rules and procedures laid down in the constitution of Uzbekistan.
“The arrangements have been done to provide conditions for full implementation of the electoral rights of the Uzbek citizens,” maintained Chairman CEC Abdusalomov.
It may be mentioned that candidates from four political parties of Uzbekistan are participating in the presidential election. These four parties include 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.
Pre-election meetings of the candidates (election campaign) ended today (December 2, 2016) at 1800 hours that was started on November 24, 2016.
Postal ballot (voting) also concluded on December 2 and around 87,500 voters, who are unable to be present at their place of residence on the polling day, used their right of early voting.
Around 600 international observers from different international organisations including OSCE ODIHR, CIS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Association of World Election Bodies are present in Uzbekistan to monitor Presidential Election.
Meanwhile, over 80,000 local observers from public organizations and political parties will also monitor polling process on December 4, 2016.
It may be mentioned that Uzbekistan is holding an extraordinary and early presidential elections on December 4 due to the death of ex-president Islam Karimov who passed away after suffering a stroke at the age of 79 on September 2, 2016.