Four candidates have registered to run in Uzbekistan’s presidential election, including incumbent Islam Karimov, the electoral commission said Monday — amid debate over whether the authoritarian leader can legally seek a third term, AP reported.
Karimov and three others have signed up to run in the Dec. 23 vote, Central Election Commission Chairman Mirzo-Ulugbek Abdusalomov said.
Karimov — who has ruled the Central Asian nation with an iron hand since before the Soviet collapse of 1991 — is expected to win the election. He is constitutionally barred from seeking a third consecutive term, but nevertheless accepted a party’s nomination earlier this month to run for re-election. No official explanation has been given.
The other candidates, officials from pro-government political parties, are seen by observers as nominal figures fielded to create an illusion of a democratic vote.