The ballot in Tajikistan’s weekend referendum was childlike in its simplicity. It comprised one plainly formulated question: Do you support changes to the constitution? Yes or no.
Preliminary official figures show that 94.5 percent of those participating in the May 22 referendum approved the scrapping of term limits for President Emomali Rahmon. The plebiscite also ratified 40 other constitutional amendments.
Pre-vote information campaigns did little to inform people about what it is they were casting their ballot for. “There has been limited voter education or information provided for the referendum. State television has aired short infomercials advertising the vote, and some billboards can be found announcing the election date,” International Foundation for Electoral Systems, or IFES, said in a briefing note published last week. “There has been little in the way of public debates on the merits of the proposed changes.”
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