Uzbekistan Election Shocker!

by Joshua Foust on 12/23/2007 · 7 comments

Just kidding. Surprising no one, Islam Karimov won the 90% turnout vote, even though it’s not been fully counted yet. Naturally, the Central Election Commission said it “didn’t see” any sort of strong arming or intimidation; they might actually be telling the truth, too—I rather doubt Karimov’s goons need roam the streets to let people know who they should must vote for.

Most amusing to me was this report from Russia Today, which is entirely too credulous, even while explaining away Karimov’s illegal third term through “constitutional changes,” as if such a thing happens in a normal democracy. Even Russia, which really can’t call itself terribly democratic given the country’s monolithic political structure, conceded that Vladimir Putin cannot serve an illegal third term through last-minute amendments—they at least have that much respect for our intelligence.

The video segment, though? Even better. I’m assuming the “basic rights violations” those international groups describe include mailing home the mutilated bodies of totally innocent people—part of what is universally regarded as a regime of universal torture.

Who’d a thunk it! The 90% turnout is a bit less than what I was expecting, a bit more than what Brian, Nathan, and the good Admiral had predicted (though “Price Is Right” rules mean Nathan won with his 85% guess). It’s now down to margins, people—margins! I’m sticking with a 95% margin of victory, because Karimov is just that damned popular. Leave your guesses in the comments, while you still can.

Related: The Central Asian Dictator “Elf-Yourself” danceathon. Noticably missing is Kurmanbek Bakiyev, which is curious given his country’s latest spot of fame. (HT: O&G)

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Michael Hancock December 24, 2007 at 2:36 am

Well, I’m going to guess a safe-but-still-interesting 93%, with the possibility of moving up by fractions to 93.7% of the vote for Karimov, with no serious contender taking more than a percentage point of the remaining votes.

Jamiyat December 24, 2007 at 8:42 am

wow, shirin akiner is an international observer.

Admiral December 24, 2007 at 10:31 am

I’m going all the way on this one, Bob, errr, I mean Josh: 96%. I will be a part of the Republican Party delegation to Uzbekistan soon to learn more about this style of democracy, it has some appeal for us.

jonathan p December 24, 2007 at 5:55 pm

Ahhh … just a wild guess … Let’s go with 88.1% of the vote. What do I win?

Oleg December 26, 2007 at 1:03 pm

What pisses me off the most if the fact that Uzbek government does not even try to hide its incompetence and corruption. It all got even worse after Putin declared his support for Uzbekistan after Andijan events. Brrrr.
To a certain degree, it is a fault of people in Uzbekistan. They allow Karimov to treat them like brainless monkeys…

brian December 26, 2007 at 3:13 pm

Has someone pointed out that perhaps 10% of voting age Uzbeks are working in a foreign country? So, I guess that means the 90%+ turnout figure means that practically everyone inside the country voted.

Hmmm… I’m starting to suspect that this whole voting process may not be quite as honest as they say it is. 🙂

Oleg December 27, 2007 at 1:01 pm

Well, in the apartment complex in Tashkent where I used to live, only 5 people voted (out of 70 that live there). You can treat it as a random sample and figure out what an actual turnout was…

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