The Tajik parliament has approved a date for a referendum on constitutional amendments that will allow current president Emomali Rahmon being re-elected for unlimited number of terms. The referendum is scheduled for May 22. The voters are expected to approve or reject 41 amendments to the constitution.
On Feb 4, the Constitutional Court of Tajikistan ruled that the constitutional amendments proposed by the parliament do correspond with the current stage of the country’s development and are consistent with the Tajik people’s aspirations.
The most significant of the amendments stipulate continuing rule of Emomali Rahmon or his possible successor, strengthening the current regime and “civilized” suppression of dissent. The government insists that the amendments are aimed at strengthening the constitutional regime, securing human and civil rights and freedoms, as well as actively involving citizens, first of all, youth into political life and government.
If the constitutional reform is approved, the basic changes will concern the following:
· Emomali Rahmon, who has been ruling Tajikistan for 24 years already, will be granted an opportunity to be re-elected countless number of times.
· Rustem, elder son of the president, will be granted the right to run for presidency at the next election thanks to lowering the age qualification.
· Funding of parties and non-governmental political organizations from abroad will be banned.