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U.S. Department of State
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Press Statement


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Press Statement by James P. Rubin, Spokesman
January 12, 1999

Uzbekistan: Presidential Elections Flawed

On January 9, 2000, Uzbekistan held a presidential election. Final results were announced yesterday, January 10. Incumbent President Islam Karimov won re-election with 91.9 percent of the vote. Voter turnout was about 95 percent.

The U.S. Government believes that this election was neither free nor fair and offered Uzbekistan's voters no true choice. The Government of Uzbekistan refused to register truly independent, opposition parties, nor did it permit members of these parties to run for president. The sole candidate permitted to oppose President Karimov was a public supporter of Karimov's policies and leadership, and was quoted during the campaign as stating he himself intended to vote for Karimov.

Following seriously flawed parliamentary elections on December 5, 1999, and after reviewing preparations for the presidential election, the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) decided not to send official election observers to the January 9 presidential election. The U.S. government fully and publicly supported ODIHR's conclusions and decision in this respect.

The U.S. regrets that the Government of Uzbekistan, in its conduct of this election, has failed again to meet its freely-given commitments as a participating state in the OSCE.

President Karimov publicly stated that, if re-elected, he intended to use his new term to embark on a program of political and economic reform. The U.S. government would strongly support a program extending basic human and civil rights to Uzbekistan's citizens, as well as undertaking economic reforms.

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