Farkhad Tolipov, Ph.D. (Political Science), Independent Analyst (Tashkent, Uzbekistan)


At all times, a multiparty system and opposition have been regarded and are still viewed as a sign of democracy. To a great extent, the importance and functions of the multiparty system depend on the specific features of the political order in any given country, its type of election system, and its model of governance, etc. The sum-total of the above speaks volumes about the systemic nature of the countrys politics.

In-depth studies of the issue reveal the nuances, specifics, and regularities of forming a multiparty system and opposition that frequently escape simplistic or one-track approach.

Any detailed investigation of the issue discloses new dilemmas and problems in the situational analysis of the Central Asian countries, especially in the East-West context. In this case, however, the Central Asian countries are placed in a specific Eastern context where building a new democratic society (complete with a multiparty system and opposition) has been struggling to surmount the ontological barriers that exist there.

On the Axiomatics of the Issue

One of the fundamental axioms of democratic theory says: Democracy is unthinkable without opposition parties in the countrys political system. It is generally believed that the level of democracy depends on the nature of the political struggle in a country; an academic approach, however, reveals an ontological flaw.

After watching the fairly slow process of democratic structuralizing in Uzbekistan for many years, I had what can be rated as a minor revelation: there is no clear understanding of theoretical terms (starting with democracy) and practical concepts (such as civil society, NGOs, etc.). Not only has the term opposition failed to be specified as a theoretical concept in Uzbek political science, it is treated almost as obscene.

The term opposition meanwhile is derived from the Latin oppositio and means the following:

(1) opposition of ones politics to the politics of others;

(2) opposition to the opinion of the majority or the prevailing opinion in legislature, party, and other structures which pose themselves as democratic.

Opposition can be moderate, radical, loyal (prepared to support the government), constructive (offering meaningful and constructive decisions), or destructive.

Contraposition (in most cases a priori described as all-embracing) is the centerpiece of any opposition. The aim serves as the main distinguishing feature: different opposition forces have different ideas about the future of their countriesthis is the meaning of.

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