Candidate nominated for prime minister in Uzbekistan

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TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbekistan’s leading Liberal Democratic Party has nominated Abdulla Aripov to be the country’s prime minister.

Aripov is a veteran official who was dismissed by late leader Islam Karimov in 2012 but is seen as a loyal backer of President-elect Shavkat Mirziyaev, RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service reports.

The party said in a statement on its website that Aripov was “capable of taking responsibility for reforms”.

Mirziyaev had been Uzbekistan’s prime minister since 2003. He easily won the December 4 presidential election in the tightly controlled country after three months as interim president following the death of Karimov.

Aripov, 55, was a deputy prime minister supervising the communications and information sector between 2002 and 2012. He also served as chairman of the supervisory board for state-owned Uzbektelecom.

Karimov removed Aripov from the cabinet in August 2012 amid a corruption scandal involving allegations that licenses were illegally granted to mobile operator Uzdunrobita, an Uzbek subsidiary of Russian telecom giant Mobile TeleSystems (MTS).

Uzdunrobita was controlled at the time by Karimov’s elder daughter, Gulnara Karimova, who was once tipped as a potential successor to her father but vanished from public life amid the telecoms scandal and is widely reported to be under house arrest in Tashkent.

Mirziyaev reappointed Aripov as a deputy prime minister in mid-September, one of his first personnel moves after becoming interim president.

Observers say his background suggests he is likely to be loyal and compliant as prime minister under Mirziyaev.

The president is head of state in Uzbekistan and holds much more power than the prime minister, who is in charge of the cabinet and responsible for the economy.

Sergey Kwan

TCA