Uzbekistan’s interim leader is wasting no time in culling officials and bringing other figures in from the cold.
In one his first acts after being ensconced as provisional president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev on September 13 reshuffled the cabinet. The rearrangement was not without surprises and signals that as far as personnel issues are concerned, Mirziyoyev intends to make a clean break with the legacy of the late President Islam Karimov.
And yet perhaps it is what did not change that was most unexpected.
Contrary to some expectations, the position of first deputy prime minister Rustam Azimov – who had been touted as a possible successor to Karimov, and therefore a rival to Mirziyoyev's rule – has been strengthened in the reshuffle. His title will remain the same, but his responsibilities, which now include macroeconomic development, structural reforms, attracting foreign investment and administering the country’s finances, are being broadened to also take in education and science.
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