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Landslide Vote Gives Tajik President Lifetime Rule

Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmon

Tajikistan has approved constitutional amendments allowing President Emomali Rahmon to rule for life, the RIA Novosti news agency reported Monday.

Under the previous constitution, a Tajik president was only able to be elected twice.

Approximately 92 percent of the population took part in the referendum held on May 22. Of the 4 million participating voters, 94.5 percent were in favor of the changes while 3.3 percent were against, the head of Tajikistan's Central Election Commission Bakhtiyor Khudoyorzoda reported.

The Meduza website reported that the ballot slip asked voters, “Do you believe that restrictions stating one person cannot be president for more than two consecutive terms do not apply to the Founder of Peace and National Unity and Leader of the Nation Emomali Rahmon?"

A total of 40 amendments have been approved, including a lower age limit for presidential candidates and deputies. The change is expected to allow Rahmon's son to run for the presidency in 2020.

Among other changes are the prohibition of political parties based on religion and nationalism and the financing of political parties from abroad, RIA Novosti reported.

Under current Tajik legislation, a decision is approved by referendum if more than half of voters are in favor.

Emomali Rahmon has served as a Tajikistan's president since 1994. The presidential term was extended from five to seven years following a referendum in 2003, the Meduza news website reported.

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