November 7, 2013 - 10:36 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Tajikistan's President Imomali Rakhmon, whose only serious opposition rival was disqualified, has won a new seven-year term by a landslide, the country's Central Election Commission (CEC) said on Thursday, November 7, according to Reuters.
Rakhmon, at the helm of the poorest post-Soviet nation since 1992, received 83.1 percent of the vote after all ballots were counted, CEC Chairman Shermukhammad Shokhiyon told a news briefing.
Turnout at the election was 86.6 percent, he said.
"The election of the president of the Republic of Tajikistan was held in strict conformity with the law and in line with the principles of democracy, freely and transparently," Shokhiyon said.
Rakhmon, a 61-year-old former Soviet state farm head, ran against five little-known, mainly loyal candidates.
His only serious rival, 65-year-old rights activist Oynihol Bobonazarova, had said her backers had been obstructed in trying to gather the 210,000 signatures needed to run.
Shokhiyon said that during and after the election the CEC had received no complaints from the candidates, voters or observers.
The West has not recognized a single election in Tajikistan to be free and fair. A delegation of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitored the election, is due to present its conclusions later on Thursday.
Critics say Moscow-backed Rakhmon must tackle mounting social tension in the former Soviet republic where about half the 8 million population live in poverty 16 years after the end of a devastating civil war.
Tajikistan remains a poor country in a region driven by ethnic divisions. Conflicts have occurred across the border in Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan, courted by the West and Russia for its energy resources and strategic position, has suffered sporadic bombings and shootings authorities blame on Islamist militants.