Islam Karimov Commits Election Fraud

by Joshua Foust on 1/3/2008 · 2 comments

It’s settled, dear readers: the election in Uzbekistan was fraudulent. This is obvious because Karimov won a solid 88% of the vote. Karimov got so many votes through the apparent use of “imposters and non-citizens,” following the grand carpetbagger tradition of “vote early, vote often.” Of course, while many homes in Tashkent received instructions to vote at multiple polling places, the Central Election committee certified the election as having no obvious problems, a pronouncement lovingly repeated without comment by Russian TV.

What does this mean? For starters, commenter jonathan p. wins our contest, for guessing a 88.1% margin of victory. He receives no prize. More seriously, the buried question of Karimov’s eventual successor looms large in the minds of Uzbekistan watchers—the elderly Karimov cannot live for too much longer, and he has no clear replacement. Since Karimov has done an admirable job of either imprisoning, exiling, or murdering any potential challengers to his throne, however, it is not entirely clear who might step into his shoes in the event of his death.

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– 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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brian January 3, 2008 at 2:30 pm

You know, the sad thing is that a free and fair and functional election really wasn’t possible anyway. Civil society is oppressed so much that if all of a sudden free elections were scheduled in Uzbekistan no one would know who to vote for… and they’d probably just end up voting along regional/clanish lines.

In my own upbringing and education I was asked thousands of times to discuss: what is your opinion on this subject and why? But generations of police-state dictatorship means that Uzbeks are rarely asked to openly discuss their own opinion about anything substantive. The Uzbek people are smart and hard working but developing the nuances of understanding not only what one wants from their government, but how and why, takes years (especially when they’re older and have already left the education system).

Honestly, I think before any free and fair election would be held in Uzbekistan there must be a general opening up of society. A transition from an Uzbekistan-type dictatorship to a Pakistan-type dictatorship (a dictatorship with generally free speech and media) to a non-dictatorship is probably the way to go. The crux is, that’s probably not going to happen any time soon with Issy-K in power.

jonathan p January 3, 2008 at 2:39 pm

Concerning the contest: What a rip-off. 😉

Concerning the election: What a rip-off. But did anyone expect anything different? This just reinforces the idea that Karimov’s primary interest is bilking Uzbekistan for the rest of his life. I fear the day he dies will be the beginning of even more misery for the Uzbek people.

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