THE POLITICAL PROCESS IN UZBEKISTAN TODAY: TRENDS AND PROSPECTS
Nikolai Borisov, Ph.D. (Political Science), lecturer at the Russian State Humanitarian University (Moscow, Russia)
The recent political and economic trends in the Republic of Uzbekistan reveal that the regime seems prepared to change (at the level of political statements), on the one hand, and outline the limits of possible transformations within the system, on the other.
The two-house parliament of the new convocation, the 2005 events in Andijan, the new oppositional coalition, and the presidential election of 2007, which postponed the transfer of power and any decision on the transfer mechanism, were the key factors that fully revealed the regime’s nature.
In December 2004-January 2005, the country elected a two-house Oliy Majlis according to the new rules. On the eve of the general election, the country’s medium business community set up the Liberal-Democratic Party with the stated aim of developing a civil society. There is every reason to believe that it was intended to replace the People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan as the “leading” party to demonstrate that the country has acquired a new parliamentary majority. It formed the largest faction in the Legislative Chamber, the PDPU came second; and other seats went to several other parties likewise set up by the regime. Representatives of the district, city, and regional kengashes, together with 16 presidential appointees, formed the Senate (the parliament’s upper house): the senators included prime minister deputies, chairman of the Supreme Court, state advisor to the president, foreign minister, and others, which means that the Senate was a mixture of the legislative, executive, and judicial power branches.
The opposition parties were deprived of the opportunity to nominate candidates, while the lower house was placed under the control of the upper (which operated on a non-permanent basis and consisted of deputies of the local councils and members of the executive structures), thus preventing the newly elected parliament from assuming an independent political status.
Probably starting in 2004, the ruling elite and President Karimov spared no efforts to demonstrate that they have cut back their claims to domination in the public sphere and moved over to a pluralist structure. In January 2005, the president offered the slogan “From a strong state to a strong civil society,” which implied several reforms: a more important role and…………….