The specialist believes that the candidates will have an unequal political struggle.
The presidential elections in Tajikistan scheduled for this fall have been discussed by Tajik people for more than a year. Its results will be closely monitored by the political elites of neighboring states. There was evidence that Rahmon, due to his age, could refuse to participate in elections, giving way to some of his children, for example, to the current mayor of Dushanbe, the head of the upper house of parliament, Rustam Emomali. Independent expert Yevgeny Kudryats commented on the “election atmosphere” in Tajikistan and the possible outcome of the campaign for CentralAsia.news.
Who has the best chance to win?
Elections to the national parliament took place in Tajikistan in March, 2020. It can be considered as a “rehearsal” for the autumn campaign. Most seats were won by members of the People's Democratic Party. The expert underlined that the current leader of the republic, Emomali Rahmon, is the chairman of the party. The success of the pro-presidential party indicates a high chance for the current head of state to be elected.
Kudryats also marks the factor of administrative resources. He suggested that the leadership of the country will not stop using this means of struggle for the presidency.
- Of course, the republic’s government has an administrative resource that will be used for sure. Therefore, it is clear that the regular appearance of Emomali Rahmon on TV will be hidden advertising, - said Yevgeny Kudryats.
The expert did not exclude the possibility of involving the state employees, in particular, doctors and teachers, who completely depend on the state. They may simply be asked to vote for the “right” candidate.
- With regard to international law, the presidential campaign will be held in unequal conditions for all candidates. It is too early to make conclusions, since the situation may change, - underlined Kudryats.
Crisis and Coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic, and then the global economic crisis, did not pass Tajikistan. The economic recession of the republic may have an impact on the election campaign. According to official statistics, since the end of May the number of cases has been decreasing, and the number of deaths reached 50 people within 5035 registered cases. The expert questions the mortality data. He attaches special importance to calming people down before an important political event.
- ...It seems that the authorities deliberately underestimate the number of coronavirus deaths, to reassure Tajik citizens. On the other hand, due to this “concern”, confidence in the government, including the highest one, is lost, - the expert believes.
The expert does not doubt that the presidential campaign in Tajikistan will take place amid the economic crisis. No one knows when the pandemic will be stopped, but it is clear now that the life of people in the republic will get worse, Kudryats stressed.
The expert suggested that Tajikistan’s exit from the crisis will take its rightful place in the programs of the participants of the elections.
- Candidates for senior positions in the country will naturally try to play this “card” and promise prosperity and economic growth, but such an election promise must be treated with a healthy share of skepticism: promising and implementation are different things, - commented the expert.
If not Emomali Rahmon, who?
Many experts and political scientists have repeatedly put forward a forecast that Emomali Rahmon will again run for the elections and will win the fifth time without any difficulties. In case if the president refuses to participate in the election, his son Rustam may enter the political struggle.
Kudryats outlined the fact that amendments to the legislation of Tajikistan allowing the mayor of the capital at a rather young age of 32 years to be elected president were adopted especially for Rustam.
Daughter Ozoda is considered to be an experienced and influential political player among the president’s many children. However, Kudryats mentioned the eastern mentality, which reduces almost to non-existence the possibility of her nomination.
The expert believes that this fall Emomali Rahmon will again become the president of Tajikistan if some force majeure does not happen.