Uzbekistan has set a presidential election date for March 29. What isn’t clear is whether Islam Karimov, the man who has run the country with an iron grip since the Central Asian nation gained independence, will be a candidate.
Though widely expected to run, Karimov has not formally thrown his hat into the ring. His plans are likely not to become clear until candidates are nominated in late January. If he’s in the race, he would be widely expected to win by a customary landslide.
It is “very likely” Karimov will run, Alexander Melikishvili, a Washington-based analyst at the IHS Country Risk think-tank, told EurasiaNet.org. “Karimov sees himself as the father of the Uzbek statehood and he is unlikely to give up the presidency until he dies or becomes incapacitated.”
Karimov, the president of independent Uzbekistan since 1991, is technically ineligible to stand owing to term limits, but he has stayed in power for two-and-a-half decades by manipulating the constitution, and could do so again.
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