Taking a major stride down an authoritarian path, Tajikistan is set to grant President Emomali Rahmon a title that will elevate him to a leader for life.
The lower house of parliament, a body dominated by the ruling People’s Democratic Party of Tajikistan, voted December 9 to establish Rahmon as “Leader of the Nation.” Such status would grant Rahmon perpetual immunity from prosecution.
Supporters of the move have described the title as a fitting tribute to the man they say led Tajikistan out of its crippling civil war in the 1990s. “History shows that the names of some nations have been forgotten and erased from world maps because they did not have a leader of the nation,” People’s Democratic Party lawmaker Saidjafar Isomonov said. “All great world powers acknowledge that Tajikistan only survived as a state thanks to Rahmon.”
The legislation explicitly states that the honorific can only be applied to Rahmon, who is identified as the “person nominated [to lead the country] during the 16th session of the Supreme Council in Khujand and was then elected president in 1994.”
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