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Uzbekistan’s Parliamentary & Municipal Elections 2019: A Fair Assessment

The Republic of Uzbekistan, the largest democracy of the Central Asian Region (CAR) held its parliamentary and municipal elections on December 22, 2019. According to Uzbek Central Election Commission (UCEC) 128 deputies of the 150 seat lower house of the Uzbek parliament were elected and the second round of the elections for 22 more deputies will be held in two weeks. No candidate was elected in 22 constituencies, due to none of the candidates getting the majority of votes i.e. 50 percent. Therefore, a run-off vote will be held in two weeks in these constituencies. Turnout was 71-72 percent. Most recently concluded election was held under the slogan "New Uzbekistan, new elections”.

The Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan led the vote, winning 43 seats, and the National Revival Democratic Party came second with 35 seats. According to the CEC Chairman Mirza-Ulugbek Abdusalomov the Social Democratic Party Adolat got 21 seats and ranked third, followed by the People's Democratic Party and the Ecological Party, winning 18 and 11 seats respectively so far. Women candidates of all the political parties were also elected during the said elections. Whereas, in 2014 parliament election The Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan secured 52 seats, and the National Revival Democratic Party achieved 36, the Social Democratic Party Adolat got 20 and Ecological Party 15 seats (all by direct discretion). 

According to preliminary results and statistical date uphold that out of 128 elected candidates 33 percent of the total voters voted for incumbent political party The Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, 27 percent favoured the National Revival Democratic Party, 16.40 percent preferred the Social Democratic Party Adolat, 14.06 percent weighted the People's Democratic Party and the last but not the least, 8.59 percent desired the Ecological Party during the elections. 41 percent of women candidates took part in the elections 2019 whereas; only 32 per cent participated in the 2014 elections. Total number of candidates was 750 representing all the five political parties whereas 540 candidates took part in the election 2014. Total number of voters was 20 million including 2 million new voters in the most recently included elections in Uzbekistan. 

Being prominent regional expert of Uzbekistan& CIS, the outcome of results of these elections have once again endorsed my pre-election prediction that majority of the voters will cast their votes for continuation of socio-economic policies, further institutionalization of reforms, further politicization and democratization, peace, stability, prosperity, sustainable development, women empowerment, creation of new jobs, price stability, increase in wages and last but not least, achieving a qualitative life. The victory of The Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan in the recently held elections means that economic development has the “greatest equalizer” for which majority of the voters once again voted for its “economic policies” and “social development” in the country.   

Uzbekistan’s parliamentary and municipal elections were held on December 22, 2019 for which massive political campaign was going on all parts of the country. There was an “unbelievable euphoria” among the supports of all the five political parties. Political “theater” was live, colorful, innovated and interactive. Rallies, coroner meetings, distribution of pamphlets, circulation of news items and media debates had “thrilled” the nation. Even international observers had “mesmerized” about the “historical political transition” of the Uzbekistan’s political system. Resultant, free will of Uzbekistan’s people won by casting their votes to their candidates of parliament and municipal during the elections which absolutely “burst” western propaganda of controlled elections. Political maturity of rigorous participation of all five political parties made these elections meaningful, interactive and productive. Political diversity instrumented people/voters to come for voting in large numbers.

Sincere efforts of “Central Election Commission of Uzbekistan” transformed its country through holding of free, fair and transparent elections. It’s thorough professional expertise, impartial status having diversified but integrated Artificial Intelligence (AI) mechanism upheld spirits of “electoral integrity” and “justice” which had also endorsed by majority of the international observers of the world. Now the Republic of Uzbekistan has entered into new era of “liberalized political system” with much more “liberalized economy”.

Being prominent regional expert of Uzbekistan & CIS and International Observer, I label the parliamentary and municipal elections a “historic transition”. New Electoral Code was the basis of new Uzbekistan and new elections due to which a new Uzbekistan has now been merged.  It was the custodian of holding fair, free and transparent elections. On its part Uzbekistan Central Election Commission upheld spirits of golden principles of electoral integrity, justice and genuineness. It was an independent organ of the state by all means. It guaranteed equal electoral rights to every political parties and voters alike. Its online combined voters list along with complete detail had overshadowed doubts and propaganda of the Western mass media about so called “proxy voting” in the rural areas due to which every vote was scared and every polling station was under an unshakable system of “surveillance”.

Unified voters list “diminished” western propaganda of proxy voting especially in small regions and rural areas.  As an international observer I personally preferred to visit small regions of Uzbekistan and found not a single incident of this practice. The CCTV Network gadgetry was fixed at the every polling station for achieving a transparent voting due to which every vote was cast and every vote was counted accordingly.  International observers even had chances to monitor the process of final counting which mitigated all western baseless acquisitions.

Uzbek social media (1155 media persons registered with CEC) was very much live and active and played an important role in the elections. It was not “banned” rather it was “outshined” other means of dissemination in the country. Although some fabricated videos were aired showing alleged rigging of voting in far flank areas. I analyzed that in some cases of “Family Voting” the younger voters helped their old aged parents and relatives for proper voting which created some kind of alleged fuss in the social media. It had no relevancy and objectivity in the larger canvass of free, fair and transparent elections. Meanwhile, I suggest that labeling political electioneering as “campaign of agitation” must be “discarded” because it conveys “wrong meanings” to the world media.       

Uzbekistan’s mass media was free to “report” and “monitor” the electoral process from casting of first vote to counting of the last vote. Its “independent” and “pragmatic” reporting erased all western falsified claims of a managed transition in the country. Uzbek electronic media has now set new standards of professionalism, accuracy, responsibility, dutifulness and impartiality during the recently held elections.

Being prominent regional expert of Uzbekistan & CIS and International Observer I rate most recently held parliamentary and municipal elections a “gigantic effort” on behalf of Uzbekistan Central Election Commission which prepared first time holding of joint elections (parliament & municipal) in the history of the country. I personally think that it will further enhance process of real and functional devolution of power. It will be beginning of new era of “decentralization of administrative powers” and further “liberalization of political gambit”.

Vibrant civil society of Uzbekistan remained one of the important “cornerstones” of recently held parliament & municipal elections 2019. Civility registered its superiority over ongoing process of political transition and transformation through its physical presence in all the election polling stations in the country. The civil society took part in all the political process and electioneering which made it more informative, interactive and interesting. I suggest that politically articulated members of the civil society should be given preference in the municipal, districts and city elections in Uzbekistan.    

It was indeed a gargantuan effort to hold free, fair and transparent joint elections in the country but strategic vision of H.E President of Uzbekistan made it possible. New Electoral Code acted like a “Divine Document” in the pre & post elections. Uzbekistan has now changed which is counter-productive, positive, participatory and healthy. Most of the candidates of all the political parties belonged to disciplines of law, social sciences, economics and applied sciences which would be beneficial good for the new parliament. According to various regional as well as international reports, it is proven that new parliament of Uzbekistan will be more effective, vibrant, functional, interactive, accountable and people’s friendly.

The Republic of Uzbekistan has now entered into a “New Era” of politicization and democratization where governance and economy are very much liberalized a nonexistent system, of survival and productive channels in the whole Central Asian Region. Democracy “flourishes” in all its true spirits in the Republic of Uzbekistan. Democracy stands for the rights of people which are fully enacted throughout the country. Democracy is “for the people, by the people and of the people” which has already been institutionalized so many years ago in Uzbekistan and successful holding of joint parliamentary and municipal elections has once again mesmerized anti-democratic forces.  

People were going to select their representatives in the political contest in Uzbekistan where “decency” and “humanity” prevailed over any political gain. There was no “hustle and bustle” in and outside of all the polling stations. Voters were well “organized” and motivated in their actions and deeds with reference to voting. Parliamentarian and municipal Elections were arranged according to new electoral code where common people were “absolutely free” to cast their votes and ultimately “collective choice” prevailed once again. The whole Uzbekistan was in full swing preparing for the elections of the parliamentary & municipal elections due which now a “New Rainbow” portraying and dissipating all shades of simple and “pure democracy”, has been seen in the skies of the country in shape of new deputies of parliament and members of municipal, districts and city governments. 

There was not a “single incident” of “appeasing voting” “rigging”, “snatching of ballot boxes”, and “existence of invisible hand” during the elections. True people’s representations having no pre or post invisible socio-economic-politico maneuverings/riggings through “Parliamentarian & Municipal Elections” on “regular basis” with the “popular votes” of the common people of Uzbekistan throughout the country have been a “giant step” towards further politicization and democratization in the country.

The Republic of Uzbekistan has “Multi-Parties” democracy. For the first time in its national history five registered political parties participated in the elections. Denial of “independent candidates” to take part in the upcoming elections was not a “violation of basic human rights” or against norms of democracy, rather it showed high level of “political maturity” in the political system of the country where there was no scope and place for “political wanders” like Dutch “Achterhoek”. 

All the political parties represented diversified manifestos covering all possible aspects of achieving a qualitative life, sustainable development, rule of the law, women empowerment, social development, transparency, smart governance and above all rule of the people not peripheral systems and borrowed philosophies to attract voters. Being prominent regional expert of Uzbekistan I submit that to overcome “undue criticism” of the western media and observers alike, possibility of allowing independent candidates from the forums of experts i.e. economists, international marketing gurus, educationists, reformists, civil society activists, scientists, members of chamber of commerce etc. would be permitted to contest the upcoming elections in the country. 

I visited more than 15 polling stations situated in Northern part of Uzbekistan (Khorezm Region) where I witnessed that Uzbek society was so vibrant and politically charged enough to actively participate in the parliamentary & municipal elections. Chilled weather and snowy conditions did not bother 100 years old voters, newly married bridals and young boys and girls for voting. It was simply “remarkable” where everyone was “enthusiastic” to be part of grand political transition through the motto of New Uzbekistan-New Elections. 

Political parties were rigorous engaged with their supporters to win the “political battle through ballots”. More than 800 international observers from the 52 countries, organizations and monitoring institutes were invited to observe the complete process of elections. NGOs are human asset to Uzbekistan which completely demonstrated its effectiveness during the recently elections.

The results of Uzbek elections have now “dismissed” western “baseless myth of fragile democracy”. The Republic of Uzbekistan has a “settled democracy” where every decision is taken through an established political process in which divinity of fair, free and transparent elections play very important role. Its political system is strong, stable and sustainable and political privilege has been marginalized through the collective choice of common people which are the real “saviors of the political system and its deity “democracy”. There was not a single incident of violence or use of naked power reported even by western media during the most recently held elections which showed real essence of its political system which preferred decency over destruction, community over communal riots, development over division, cultural harmony over colossal ethnicity, progress over procession, prosperity over protests and above all human wisdom over victimization.

The outcomes of the Uzbek elections have strongly “rejected” western “falsified” media projections and reports about “fake change” through elections. Being prominent regional expert of Uzbekistan & CIS and International Observer I defend that in the political system of Uzbekistan every change is carried out through a solid, strong, stable and sustainable political system. Its change is real, permanent and institutionalized because it is achieved through popular elections. Violence has no place in the peace loving country, Uzbekistan because voices of common people/voters are respected and reciprocated. Free will of the voters uses to dominate over all political changes.

After the completion of ongoing gigantic political transition, I prophesy occurrence of new social contract as balancing act among the various organs of the state in the Republic of Uzbekistan wherein people’s friendly policies will be preferred over personalities. I predict that ongoing reforms in economy, politics, judiciary, administration, and governance will be further pursued and practiced in the country after the formation of new parliament in the country.

The results of parliamentary and municipal elections have lessened “spillover repercussions” of special seats of the past because now there is no provision of special seats in the political system of Uzbekistan. Modern democratic systems profoundly rely on socio-economic prosperity and rule of law for which I have firm belief that formation of new parliament through recently held free, fair and transparent elections will obviously care about the basic economic needs of its voters/people alike.

Electoral integrity and electoral justice were at its peak during the recently concluded parliamentary and municipal elections in Uzbekistan. It was thoroughly maintained in its true spirits by upholding principles of universal suffrage and political equality as reflected in international standards and agreements, and is professional, impartial, and transparent in its preparation and administration throughout the electoral process not confined to pre-post electoral periods, the electioneering, on polling day and its aftermath. Electoral Justice was maintained through free, fair and transparent elections at every stage and slot. There were no legal, administrative, political, economic, and social barriers or preferential treatments to universal and equal political participation in Uzbekistan in the elections.

I conclude that by holding free, fair and transparent elections once again Uzbekistan has revolutionized its political system having a much more liberalized economy. Now sky is the limit for Uzbekistan. I congratulated visionary leadership of Uzbekistan, it’s all five political parties, the CEC and all organizers to hold a completely a free, fair and transparent election.

Turkic Council International Election Observation Mission, the SCO, OIC and even Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s election-monitoring body, known by its initials ODIHR have showed their satisfaction over the entire political process and conduction of joint elections.  However, the ODIHR noted in its initial report, “Voting was conducted in a calm environment, but serious irregularities tarnished the process as voters were allowed to vote without identification documents, many voted with multiple ballots and on behalf of others, and voters were registered on election day without applying the required checks.”  IT IS TOTALLY BASELESS AND OUT OF THE CONTEXT FINDING OF THE ODIHR. THE EXISTENCE OF ONLINE ELECTRONIC VOTERS LIST WITH VARIOUS INTERACTIVE APPLICATIONS, WIDESPREAD AVAILABILITY OF NEW ELECTION APP, RIGOROUS TRAINING OF MORE THAN 180,000 VOLUNTEERS, HEAVILY PRESENCE OF INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS (800 FROM 52 COUNTRIES), AVAILABILITY OF INTERCONNECTED CCTV CAMERAS AND RAMPANT MUSHROOMING OF SOCIAL MEDIA, ALL MAINTAIN THAT THERE WAS NO SUCH INCIDENT REPORTED FROM ANY DISTRICT, CITY, REGION OR CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION BUREAUS DURING THE ELECTIONS. On the contrary, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Commonwealth of the Independent States (CIS), a regional organization comprising former Soviet republics have now also called the voting free, transparent and democratic. So “frivolous finding” of the ODIHR does not have any “substance”.   

Most of the “electoral monitoring organizations” have already affirmed that the Parliamentary Elections of the Republic of Uzbekistan conducted under the slogan of “New Uzbekistan-New Elections” were OPEN, TRANSPARENT AND COMPETITIVE

Newly conducted parliamentary and municipal elections 2019 have been described as a “stride toward real democracy”. Five political parties had an ostensibly broad “ideological spectrum” ranging from the befitting free marketing, entrepreneurial ethos of UzLiDeP to the more obvious left-of-center Adolat and the People’s Democratic Party.

Some 20.5 million of Uzbekistan's 33 million inhabitants were eligible to select the new 150 member parliament from five competing parties, who have all thrown their weight behind continuation of ongoing socio-economic reforms, generation of new jobs, provision of basic necessities of life, security, rise to commercial diplomacy, friendly neighborhood, business and investment policies, openness and greater regional connectivity.

The Oliy Majlis (lower house of the parliament) as the legislative branch of government, adopts laws, determines the principles for domestic and foreign policy, proposes amendments to the Constitution, approves the state budget, schedules elections, appoints or confirms certain officials, ratifies and denounces international treaties and exercises certain controls. Let us hope Oliy Majlis will hold olive branch of peace, prosperity and progression for all the common people in the days to come. Being prominent regional expert of Uzbekistan & CIS I submit that new parliament should invest more in education, construction of new schools, economic initiatives, like creating jobs and making loans easier for making this enormous political transition more people, business and investment oriented

I conclude with my humble suggestions that more “financial autonomy” and “economic liberty” may be institutionalized to Uzbekistan’s municipal, districts and city governments in order to achieve a functional and sustainable devolution of power in this regard “Chinese Model of city setup” may be thoroughly studied. In order to curb the menace of corruption (Uzbekistan has already initiated lots of effective means of alleviating this social ill which has huge economic impact since 2016) by implementing “Singapore Model of Governance”.

Economic accelerators must be “indigenous” because “borrowed idea or inspiration” achieves nothing. Serious errors in dissemination of electoral code or electioneering as labeling it “Agitation” must be ratified as soon as possible. Permission of independent candidates may also be seriously considered. For the safe journey towards further politicization and democratization, that futuristic arrangement may be first implemented in the municipal elections in the days to come. More understanding of group of political candidates, their nomination and selection process should be further transformed. Role of social media, encouragement of more political players, stakeholders and parties need to be welcomed in Uzbekistan’s society. More media coverage of political candidates, and debates would further strengthen its persuasion of democratic norms in the country.

Let us hope that successful holding of joint parliamentary and municipal elections will be “value addition” to its political apparatus wherein all stakeholders will have equal opportunity of excel in the days to come. Politics and economics are correlated and formation of new parliament will definitely move forward the idea of befitting proposition to achieve desired goals of “Action Strategy on Five Priority Areas of the Country’s Development for 2017-2021”. Political diversity now will stand and create more place for economic diversity, favorable pursuits of joining Euro Asian Economic Union for the betterment of greater regional connectivity.

Gradual but systematic efforts of the President H.E. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the “REAL ARCHITECT” of this ongoing political transition must be appreciated because nothing may be possible or achieved in the sphere of political freedom, human rights, social justice, role of the law, corruption free administration and society, good governance, e-governance, liberalization of economy, institutionalization of export oriented policies and above all nourishing of human capital through better education, health, shelter and security. Let us hope that associated bounties of true democracy will be equally distributed among the various factions of the society irrespective of faith, race, color or religion in the days to come.