What’s At Stake In Tajikistan’s Presidential Elections
October 7, 2020
Virtual event hosted by Central Asia Program at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at the George Washington University on October 7, 2020.
Tajikistan is headed to a crucial presidential election on October 11, where incumbent Emomali Rahmon is once more on the ballot, who is in power since 1992. The other four candidates on the ballot are, Rustam Latifzoda of the Agrarian Party; Abduhalim Ghafforov of the Socialist Party; Miroj Abdulloev of the Communist Party; Rustam Rahmatzoda of the Party of Economic Reforms. The only opposition party functioning inside the country, the Social Democratic Party boycotting the polls, incumbent Emomali Rahmon is clearly in the advantageous position to win the election, which is held against the backdrop of speculations that he is preparing his son Rustam Emomali as his successor, when and if he decides to step down. With Tajikistan facing severe economic challenges, due to the dramatic decrease in remitances from the Tajik migrant workers in Russia, and growing domestic crackdown against opponents and perceived opponents of the regime, this panel will analyze what’s at stake in Tajikistan’s presidential elections, and what it means for the country’s future.
About the Speakers
Sirojiddin Tolibov is the Managing Editor of RFE/RL’s Tajik Service. Having reported on operations against Islamic militants from the main hot spots in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan throughout his journalistic career, he is an expert on security matters, Islamic groups, human rights, and social and economic issues in Central Asia. Hundreds of his articles have been published across the globe in English, Russian, Persian, Turkish, and Uzbek. He made several short documentaries on Islamic militancy, corruption and on human rights issues in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Prior to RFE/RL, Tolibov spent 20 years with the BBC World Service’s Central Asian unit as a reporter, manager, news anchor, and editor. In 2001, he was announced the Service’s Best Reporter. He has also performed leading roles in award winning BBC radio dramas. Tolibov holds honorary masters degree from the Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies.
Dr. Hélène Thibault is professor of Political Science at Nazarbayev University since 2016. She specializes in ethnography, religion, secularism, and the Soviet legacy. Her current projects also look at gender issues in Central Asia, more specifically, marriage and polygyny. She is also a member of the The Political Economy of Education Research (PEER) Network, led by the University of Ulster and of the Oxus Society based in Washington. Apart from research activities, she also took part in multiple election observation missions with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Ukraine and travelled extensively in the former USSR.
Edward Lemon is a Research Assistant Professor at The Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, Washington D.C. teaching site. He has previously held positions at the Wilson Center and Columbia University. Dr. Lemon’s research focuses on authoritarianism and security issues in Central Asia. He is editor of the book Critical Approaches to Security in Central Asia (Routledge, 2018). His research has been published in Democratization, Central Asian Affairs, Caucasus Survey, Journal of Democracy, Central Asian Survey, the Review of Middle Eastern Studies, and The RUSI Journal.