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Tajikistan: President to Get His Own Holiday

Tajikistan may be about to get a new day off if lawmakers get their way: President’s Day, or to be more exact, Leader of the Nation Day.

This is more personality cult-building in operation here, since the latter title was bestowed on President Emomali Rahmon only last year.

Asia Plus news website reported on April 6 that parliamentarians have already teed up the text for the required legislation.

There are a few candidate dates. One is November 19, the date in 1992 when Rahmon was appointed chairman of Tajikistan’s Supreme Council, one of the first formal steps taken toward him becoming president. Or it could be November 6, which was the date for the presidential elections in 1994, 1999, 2006 and 2013.

But since November 6 already marks Constitution Day, there is also the possibility that a compromise date of October 5 could be agreed upon. That is Rahmon’s birthday.

Ozodagon suggests another possibility: November 6, which marked the start of the 16th session of the Supreme Council of Tajikistan in 1992, which culminated in the historic decision on Rahmon’s chairmanship.

Member of parliament Abduhalim Gafforov told Ozodagon that deputies proposed calling the holiday President’s Day.

“But then again it would be better to call this day Leader’s Day, since there are also other kinds of presidents in other structures, like the Academy of Sciences, for example. But there is only one Leader of the Nation,” Gafforov said.

This is far from the first initiative in creating the burgeoning cult of personality around Rahmon. The last year has seen a particular intensification of this process.

A law was adopted at the end of 2015 to endow Rahmon with the “Leader of the Nation” title. To celebrate the event, authorities organized marches across the country. Schoolchildren were made to memorize poems about Rahmon. The culmination of all this will be a referendum scheduled for May to allow Rahmon to run for president indefinitely, which in effect translates into rule for life.

And Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Tajik service, Ozodi, has reported that a publishing house in Dushanbe has issued an anthology titled “Emomali Rahmon in Literature.” The collection includes 2,256 pieces of writing dating back to 1994, between prose and poetry,  telling of Rahmon’s achievements. Only 250 copies have been printed, however, so buy soon to avoid disappointment. 

The anthology was compiled by the deputy director of the national library, Sharif Komilzoda, who said the book was need to provide inspiration. Komilzoda said the writings would serve an educational purpose and enable a growing generation to better understand itself.

Tajikistan is a little late to the game here.

Kazakhstan has had its own Leader of the Nation since 2012, when President Nursultan Nazarbayev was elevated to that status.

Tajikistan: President to Get His Own Holiday

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