Another student guest post on Uzbekistan…and the Karimov family. I promise, we’re not completely about Central Asia this semester!
Karimov, image from the article “The World’s Enduring Dictators”
The current president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, was the first secretary of Communist Uzbekistan in 1989, before the fall of the Soviet Union, and was then elected as the first president of the newly independent state in 1991. Karimov shows no sign of relinquishing control (he’s on CBS News list of “Enduring Dictators”) and has become one of the regions “president’s for life”. Uzbekistan’s constitution lays the groundwork for a democratic state. It is a semi-presidential system much like France and Russia, consisting of a Prime Minister and a President. Presidents are elected for a maximum of two seven year terms. And yet, since winning the 1991 election, Karimov has been re-elected twice and his term has been extended twice, and is preparing to run for a third term in 2014, a clear violation of the constitution. How has Karimov maintained control for twenty-four years? Karimov has manipulated the electoral system to control the formation of parties, oppressed opposition, media, and religious groups in order to control civil society, and controls state bureaucracy and industry via nepotism. Continue Reading
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. Continue Reading
A student guest post about Lukashenko, Belarus’ president who is sometimes referred to as “Europe’s last dictator.”
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle’s comment describing Belarus as “Europe’s last dictatorship” resonated strongly worldwide and, along with actions by Belarusian police on Election Day in 2010, has prompted a general resistance against any kind of international diplomacy with the nation. Everyone seemed to take it very seriously; everyone except for Lukashenko, that is. Upon hearing about Westerwelle’s comment, all he had to say was, “Whoever was shouting about dictatorship there … when I heard that, I thought: it’s better to be a dictator than gay.” Continue Reading