Tajik lawmakers pass amendments paving way to Rakhmon’s lifelong presidency

DUSHANBE (TCA) — Today, January 22, the lower chamber of Tajikistan’s parliament passed amendments to the country’s Constitution according to which incumbent President Emomali Rakhmon, as the Leader of the Nation, may be elected President of Tajikistan an unlimited number of times, Avesta news agency reported.

In December 2015, President Rakhmon signed into law a bill that has given him the title “Leader of the Nation” and granted him lifelong immunity from prosecution.

The bill, passed unanimously by the upper and lower houses of the Tajik parliament earlier in December, officially designated Rakhmon as “the founder of peace and national unity of Tajikistan” and stated that he cannot be prosecuted for anything he has done while in office.

The Law also protects relatives of Rakhmon, 63, a former collective farm chief who has been in power in Tajikistan since the year after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Members of his family and their property will also enjoy immunity.

The passed amendments also lower to 30 years the minimal age at which Tajik citizens are eligible to run for presidency. According to the current Constitution, persons not younger than 35 years old have the right to run for President in Tajikistan.

The amendments also ban establishment of political parties and organizations of religious and nationalistic character.

The parliament has submitted the passed amendments to the country’s Constitutional Court for approval. After that, the government will set the date for holding a nationwide referendum to approve the constitutional amendments.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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