Central Asia: March 17, 2000


The 27 Feb elections in Tajikhistan may lead to a resumption of the 1992-97 civil war they were supposed to stop. The OSCE poll watchers report that it was neither free nor fair, but was a sham by President Rakhmonov to push his political opponents out of power. Only three parties won seats in parliament; only one of these, with 7.5% of the vote, was not part of the ruling coalition. Rakhmonov won the Nov 99 presidential elections with 97% of the vote, a margin that far exceeds his actual support. The problem is that the eliminated parties are still heavily armed and include powerful paramilitary units.--Stephen V Cole


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