It’s one of the world’s most predictable elections, but Uzbeks gave their long-term leader something of a wake-up call in the run-up to Sunday’s vote. Authoritarian President Islam Karimov can still count on a fourth consecutive victory. But an unprecedented mass gathering in honour of an Islamic scholar who died earlier in the month rattled a regime which keeps a tight grip. The event – right in the middle of the campaign – suggested that people’s acquiescence cannot be taken for granted. In startling contrast to poorly-attended election events, huge crowds flooded the streets of the capital, Tashkent, on 11 March following the death of Sheikh Muhammad Sodiq Muhammad Yusuf. Traffic came to a standstill as people paid their respects in a spontaneous outpouring of grief. It was a highly unusual scene for a country where public gatherings are tightly controlled.Full Article: Lifeless Uzbek election hides power struggle - BBC News.
Mar 27 2015