Interim Uzbek leader Mirziyoyev to run in Dec. 4 presidential election

ALMATY (Reuters) - Uzbekistan’s interim president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has been nominated to run in the country’s Dec. 4 presidential election, the central election commission said on Friday.

Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan’s prime minister since 2003, is widely expected to win the presidency, succeeding Islam Karimov, who had ruled with an iron hand for 27 years, until his death from a stroke earlier this month.

Uzbekistan’s Liberal-Democratic Party nominated Mirziyoyev at a convention on Friday, the election authority said on its Facebook page. The same party had nominated Karimov for the presidency in 2007.

Another party, Milliy Tiklanish (National Revival), nominated its own leader, Sarvar Otamurodov, deputy speaker of the legislative chamber of parliament, the election commission said.

Last week, Uzbekistan’s parliament named Mirziyoyev, 59, as interim president, after Senate Chairman Nigmatilla Yuldashev, who should have become transitional leader under the constitution, bowed out in his favor, saying Mirziyoyev had long experience in office and enjoyed the people’s respect.

Mirziyoyev was also the official mourner-in-chief at Karimov’s funeral and met Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, strong signs that he is likely to succeed Karimov.

Uzbekistan has never held a vote judged free and fair by Western observers. Karimov was routinely re-elected with more than 90 percent of the vote.

Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Larry King