Authorities in Tajikistan have worked overtime in recent years to discredit the country’s small political opposition, and keep public attention away from politics. But the opposition coalition’s unexpected nomination of prominent human rights advocate Oynihol Bobonazarova has, if nothing else, succeeded in generating buzz during the early days of the presidential election campaign.
Bobonazarova’s nomination by the Union of Reformist Forces appears to have taken incumbent President Imomali Rahmon’s administration by surprise. Rahmon is expected to be nominated at his party’s congress on October 4. Few anticipate a fair vote in a country that has never held one to international standards, and thus few believe Bobonazarova has a chance of unseating Rahmon in the November 6 election.
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Konstantin Parshin is a freelance writer based in Tajikistan.