Parliamentary elections in Uzbekistan
This year’s most crucial political event in Uzbekistan is to become the parliamentary elections due on the first Sunday of the third decade of December.
Uzbekistan has a bicameral parliament. The Legislative Chamber (lower house) consist of 150 members. One hundred and thirty five of them are elected in accordance with territorial electoral districts on the multiparty basis. Fifteen seats are granted to the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan, given the importance of nationwide issues related to ecology, public healthcare and protection of the environment.
The Senate (upper ouse) is formed from among the deputies of local representative bodies of government during their joint sessions, in equal quantity - per six persons - from the Republic of Karakalpakstan, regions and the city of Tashkent. Sixteen members of the Senate are appointed by the President of Uzbekistan from among the most authoritative citizens of the country.
The term of office of the Parliament is 5 years.
In accordance with the results of parliamentary elections in 2009, four political parties are represented at the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan: the Movement of Entrepreneurs and Businesspeople – the Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan (UzLiDeP), the People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan (PDPU), the Milliy Tiklanish (National Revival) Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, and Adolat (Justice) Social Democratic Party of Uzbekistan.
The forthcoming elections are to substantially differ from the previous ones, since they are going to be held amid the enhancement of powers of the parliament and further deeping of democratization of electoral system. As part of implementation of the Concept of Further Deeping of Democratic Reforms and Establishing Civil Society in the Country, put forward by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov at the joint session of both chambers of the parliament on November 12, 2010, amendments were introduced in 2011, 2012 and 2014 to some articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Articles 32, 78, 80, 93, 96, 98, 103 and 117) and laws on elections, which serve as a legal basis for further democratization of the activities of legislative and executive branches of power, as well as the electoral system.
A number of amendments and addenda have been introduced into the electoral legislation to clearly identify the forms and methods of election campaign, inadmissibility of its conduct not only on the election day, but also a day before the voting, elevation of effectiveness in the mechanisms of securing equal opportunities for candidates and political parties during this crucial phase of the election campaign, along with the creation of additional legal guarantees for early voting, the establishment of polling stations in places of detention. Legal mechanisms of securing transparency during elections have been enhanced.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) has been vested with a status of permanently operating and independent constitutional body. The mechanism of its activities has been defined that provides for the preparation and holding of elections without interference of any other government body, and principles of its activities have been approved: that is, independence, legality, collegiality, publicity and fairness. A law is to be passed in the nearest future to envisage a substantial expansion of powers and the consolidation of financial independence of the CEC.
In May this year, the CEC approved an action plan to prepare and hold elections to the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, regional, district and municipal Kengashes (Councils) of people’s representatives in 2014, which includes a set of measures to ensure the legality, transparency, openness and publicity at all stages of the election campaign. The openness and transparency in the work of all electoral commissions is to be provided by way of holding their meetings with participation from political parties, mass media and observers. The participation of observers from international institutions and foreign states is also envisioned along with the observers and authorized representatives of political parties.
The action plan also stipulates the creation of extensive and equal opportunities for political parties and candidates for deputies in utilizing the possibilities of mass media during the election campaign in order to inform the electorate and general public about their election programs, along with providing the voters with timely updates the voters about the progress of preparation and conducting of elections.
Therefore, a great significance is attached in Uzbekistan to the conduct of forthcoming parliamentary elections at a high level in accordance with international norms and principles, for their results are to define the strategy and path of development of the nation for the next 5 years.