Another student guest post, this one covering the executive system of Tajikistan.
Emomali Rahmon has held a 19 year rule over the small country of Tajikistan. He assumed power when the country was in a compromised position in the mid-‘90s, and has not quite gotten the knack of letting power go. More recently, he was elected in 2006 with an estimated 79.3% of the vote. He has, however, gotten to be pretty good at election rigging, opposition repression and creating a not-so-convincing guise of democracy to show off to the international community.
In 1992, Rahmon assumed control when former President Nabiyev stepped down from power in an attempt to ease some of the unrest and rioting that Tajikistan was experiencing. At the time, he was the Speaker of Parliament. Tajikistan was experiencing in the very beginning of a very long civil war, and Rahmon was able to take advantage of the chaotic situation and declare himself President.
Since then, he has been “elected” in three separate elections, has approved of Presidential term limits and is a member of the People’s Democratic Party of Tajikistan. He has also allowed opposition parties to exist (kind of) in Tajikistan. Despite all this talk and paperwork pointing to democracy, he remains an incredibly repressive dictator who has ties to the former Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
An apparent wiretap done in the US Embassy in Dushanbe in 2010 sheds light on how extreme Rahmon is willing to go in order to retain his executive authority. In regards to industry in Tajikistan, “”Rahmon and his family control the country’s major businesses, including the largest bank, and they play hardball to protect their business interests, no matter the cost to the economy writ large”. Rahmon controlling Tajikistan’s few industries allows him to retain his executive authority because he dominants the political realm, as well as the economic.
By the Rahmon regime controlling the economy, they are financially equipped to suppress anyone who dares speak out against them. The current regime has been accused of using torture, kidnapping and assassination as tools to both silence opposition and instill a very real sense of fear into the citizens should they attempt to protest against him. In 1997, after an assassination attempt, Rahmon ordered state security services to launch a widespread campaign to arrest and detain anyone who was vehemently opposed to Rahmon and his regime.
While Tajikistan technically has elections, and they refer to themselves as a democracy, they are the furtherest thing from one. The entire government is controlled by the executive branch, elections are always rigged and unfair, and any real opposition is silenced as soon as they gain too much support. There is little doubt that Rahmon, the executive of Tajikistan, is another “president for life” dictator that seems to be common in Central Asia these days.
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