THE 2013 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: LEGITIMACY AND THE ISLAMIC REVIVAL PARTY OF TAJIKISTAN
Rashid Gani ABDULLO
Rashid Gani Abdullo, Ph.D. (Hist.), Independent Expert (Dushanbe, Tajikistan)
The author looks at the problem of the legitimacy of the 2013 presidential election in Tajikistan as a sine qua non of social and political stability and, consequently, of the country’s security and territorial integrity. In Tajikistan’s specific case, the election could only be legitimate if the opposition forces, primarily the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan (IRP), which comes second after the institution of presidential power as the most influential political force, did not boycott it.
Despite the easily predicted results (another term for President Rakhmon), the IRP leaders decided to take part in the process: an Islamic revival could only take place in a politically stable Tajikistan. To gain public legitimacy for their decision, they organized a series of consultations with representatives of the public to formulate and realize the idea of an Alliance of the Reformist Forces of Tajikistan (ORST), which nominated human rights activist Oinihol Bobonazarova as its joint presidential candidate. She did not run because, after failing to present the necessary number of signatures gathered in her support to the Central Election Commission, she was not registered as a candidate. The IRP leaders abstained from voting, but denied all accusations of boycotting the election.
President Rakhmon, who won the election, and the IRP, which stuck resolutely to its course and was able to keep the Islamic revival going, were both winners. The country benefited the most—the election did not shake the frail stability, while Tajikistan’s enemies lost another chance to interfere in its domestic affairs with destructive intentions.
Keywords: Tajikistan, presidential election, the president, parties, the opposition, Islamic revival, Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan.