March 2, 2020 / 12:02 PM / a month ago

Tajik leader's party leads in parliamentary election

FILE PHOTO: Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon arrives for a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) heads of state in Minsk, Belarus November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

DUSHANBE (Reuters) - Tajikistan’s ruling party looked set to retain control over the lower house of parliament as the Central Asian nation announced preliminary results of the March 1 election on Monday, while opposition cried foul.

The People’s Democratic Party, led by veteran President Imomali Rakhmon, won 50.4% of the vote, securing 12 out of 22 seats distributed along party lines, the ex-Soviet republic’s Central Election Commission said.

Tajikistan uses a mixed system in which 41 of the 63 lower-house seats are contested in single-seat constituencies.

The election commission did not announce the party affiliations of the winners in those constituencies, but candidate data and the parties own counts indicated the ruling party would clinch a majority there as well.

The Social Democrats, the only party that openly criticized the strongman Rakhmon during the campaign, failed to win any seats - just as in all the previous elections where it ran, the commission said.

Social Democratic party leader Rakhmatillo Zoyirov denounced the vote results, saying the party had received three different sets of numbers from the election commission over 10 hours which were inconsistent with each other.

The figures given by the authorities were “political and fabricated”, Zoyirov said in a statement.

Western analysts have said that the absence of independent media and a functioning opposition limited the choice between political alternatives in the vote.

Reporting by Nazarali Pirnazarov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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