Tajikistan: Rahman becomes latest CIS dictator

President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahman has initiated an amendment to the nation’s constitution seeking to remove the term limits of his presidency. 

The amendment would also see the minimum age for presidency be decreased from 35 to 30 and prohibit religious political parties in the country.

In a referendum held on May 22nd, there was a reported 90 % turnout of voters with 95% of them voting in favour of the changes. As a result, Emonali Rahman has become the 6th lifelong president to be part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Rahman’s son, Rustam Emonali, who is 29 years old, now has the opportunity to easily replace his father should the circumstances arise.

The credibility of the Tajik government’s referendum has been brought into question, however. Although the referendum was overseen by the CIS, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) claim they had nothing to do with the referendum.

It is unlikely that such a level of unanimity was reached in a country which, only a decade ago, was in civil war. It has therefore been suggested by onlookers that the result was fabricated by the Tajik government.

The long-term effects of the new amendment are yet to be seen although there are some concerning predictions. It is thought that the amendment will lead to the rise of radical Islamist groups in Tajikistan. With the banning of religious political parties in the country, it is thought that potential terrorists will find legitimacy for their actions.

The Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), the government’s main opposition during the civil war, were, until now, the only legitimate religious party in Tajikistan. A previous referendum made the IRPT a legitimate party and was essential to the ending of the war.

With the government now turning their back on this decisions, concerns for Tajikistan’s security and stability have been raised.

Tajikistan’s situation can be compared to the decision of the Kazakhstani government to ban praying in public offices in 2011. The banning led to a number of suicide bombings throughout Kazakhstan.

The amendment is also expected to raise tensions between Tajikistan and their secular, liberal-minded opposition.


by ArmedPolitics Newsdesk