(Reuters) - Uzbekistan votes in a presidential election on Sunday certain to give President Islam Karimov a third term.
Below is a chronology of key events in Karimov’s life.
Islam Karimov, son of a Tajik mother and Uzbek father, was born on January 30, 1938.
June 1989 - Karimov, Soviet apparatchik, appointed first secretary of Communist party of Uzbek Soviet republic amid violent attacks against minorities in Ferghana Valley.
September 1991 - Uzbekistan declares independence from the Soviet Union. The country joins the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) — a grouping of former Soviet republics.
December - Karimov elected president.
1992 - Karimov bans the opposition Birlik and Erk parties.
March 1995 - Karimov’s first presidential term extended until 2000 in a referendum.
1999 - Bomb blasts in Tashkent kill more than a dozen people. Karimov blames Islamist extremists.
August-November - Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan insurgents launch attacks against government forces from mountain hideouts.
January 2000 - Karimov re-elected president. Western observers call the elections neither free nor fair.
New York-based Human Rights Watch accuses Uzbekistan of widespread use of torture.
October 2001 - Uzbekistan allows U.S. military forces to use its air bases to attack Taliban in Afghanistan.
January 2002 - Karimov extends his presidential term from five to seven years in a referendum criticized by the West.
December - United Nations accuses Uzbekistan of “systematic use of torture”.
March-April 2004 - Suicide bombings in Tashkent and Bukhara. Uzbek forces storm suspected Islamist hideout. Fifty people are killed.
July - Suicide bombers target U.S. and Israeli embassies in Tashkent.
May 13, 2005 - Troops fire on protesters in Andizhan. Witnesses said hundreds were killed. Government says 187 died.
November - Fifteen men found guilty of fomenting the May uprising in Andizhan and jailed for 14 to 20 years. Further trials bring the total sentenced to more than 170 people.
European Union imposes sanctions on Uzbekistan for refusing to allow an international probe into the Andizhan killings.
United States closes its military base in Uzbekistan after Karimov, angered by U.S. criticism over Andizhan, asks it to leave.
March 2006 - Further trials start against opposition leaders and human rights campaigners who had criticized the authorities over Andizhan.
June - Uzbekistan joins a Russian-backed security pact uniting former Soviet nations.
December 2007 - Presidential election.