Two years ago, when a new head. of Uzbekistan, President Mirziyoev started announcing initiatives for liberalization of economy of the country, civil activists and opposition figures started wondering about his plans regarding liberalization of politics of Uzbekistan. Hopes that opposition figures and critics of the previous regime will come back to Uzbekistan were raised. There were even hints that opposition will be allowed to participate in parliamentary elections. Civil activists and opposition figures thought that this is the only way for Shavkat Mirziyoev to show the international community that he is different from his predecessor.
However, Shavkat Mirziyoev is proving that he is no different from his predecessor, rather he is his follower. Mirziyoev didn’t opened the doors to the opposition, moreover, he still stigmatizes them as “enemy of the nation” and continues to persecute his opponents and critics.
We are approaching parliamentary elections in Uzbekistan and here too, Mirziyoev showed that he will continue to follow the line of his predecessor. The same 5 puppet pro-governmental political parties created during Islam Karimov’s regime are running for the parliament. We remember, when 20 years ago, the world was amused when the only competitor for presidential elections casted his vote for President Karimov, rather than for himself. The same way on December 22, 2019, those five pro-governmental parties will be competing for showing their loyalty to the President Mirziyoev, rather than for seats in the parliament and for the people.
It is obvious, that all parliamentary seats have already been distributed by President himself and his inner circle. Ever since 1995, in Uzbekistan, all parliamentary seats are distributed and decided upon way before the actual elections. Parliament is being selected not by the public vote, rather by the President and his inner circle. What will be the historic mission of this new puppet parliament? This parliament will approve Shavkat Mirzoyaev’s decision to join Eurasian Economic Community, which is dysfunctional organization which is a graveyard for any economy. The decision to join Eurasian Economic Community was his personal decision, rather than decision of the citizens of Uzbekistan.
We believe that after the elections, President Mirziyoev will put in place more restrictions on personal freedoms of Uzbek citizens, will put more pressure on critics of the government and will gradually shut down Uzbekistan from the outside world. Political stagnation in Uzbekistan will continue until all that puppet political organization leave the scene and truly democratic opposition forces replace them. Upcoming parliamentary elections are fake, and they will again, take country 5 years back in terms of democratization.
Therefore, we have a question for OSCE. During the rule of President Karimov, you were sending only a limited number of observers saying that there is no political competition in the country. So, what has changed now? Do we see any sign of a real political competition in Uzbekistan? The same old political parties are running in these elections. So how would you justify your decision to send the full mission to Uzbekistan this time?
What kind of process the international monitor are going to observe during these upcoming elections? These observers will become a shield for that political farce which is going to take place in Uzbekistan on December 22nd. These observers will become an instrument for legitimizing illegitimate political power in the country. We call upon Uzbek citizens not to participate in this game, to protest any plans and actions which are designed to strip them off their rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Uzbekistan.
ERK DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF UZBEKISTAN
December 11, 2019