Politics of TajikistanBenedict (Viktor) Gombocz
Geography of Tajikistan Central Asia, west of China, south ofKyrgyzstan Area:◦ Total: 143,100 sq km◦ Country comparison to the world: 96◦ Land: 141,510 sq km◦ Water: 2,590 sq km Area – comparative: Slightly smallerthan Wisconsin Land boundaries:◦ Total: 3,651 sq km◦ Border countries: Afghanistan 1,206 km, China414 km, Kyrgyzstan 870 km, Uzbekistan 1,161 km Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Religion in Tajikistan The biggest religion in CentralAsia, Islam, was brought to the region by theArabs in the 7th century; since then, Islam hasbecome a central part of Tajikistan’s culture. The official religion in Tajikistan since 2009is the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam, makingTajikistan the only ex-Soviet state with anofficial religion. Despite largely ineffective attempts tosecularize society, the post-Soviet period hasbeen marked by an increase in religiouspractice. The majority of Tajiks belong to the Sunnibranch of Islam; a smaller group adheres tothe Shia branch of Islam. Russian Orthodoxy is the most commonlyfollowed minority religion, despite a largeshrink of the Russian minority in the early1990s. Some other small Christian minorities alsoenjoy some freedom of worship. Tajikistan also has a small Jewish population.
Religion statistics Sunni Muslim 85% Shia Muslim 5% Other 10% (2003 est.)
Tajikistan’s political system:Background Tajikistan’s politics function in a structure of a presidential republic;the President is the head of state and head of government, and of amulti-party structure. Legislative power is vested in both the exeuctive branch and the twoparliament chambers.
Tajikistan’s political system:Government Capital (and largest city): Dushanbe Official languages: Tajik◦ Recognized regional languages: Russian Demonym: Tajik Government: Dominant-party unitarysemi-presidential state President: Emomalii Rahmon Prime Minister: Oqil Oqilov Legislature: Supreme Assembly Upper house: National Assembly Lower house: Assembly ofRepresentatives
Tajikistan’s political system:Executive branchMain office holdersPowers of the President and thePrime Minister Office: President◦ Name: Emomalii Rahmon◦ Party: HDKT◦ Since: 6 November 1994 Office: Prime Minister◦ Name: Oqil Oqilov◦ Party: HDKT◦ Since: 20 December 1999 Directly elected, the president serves as both the head of state and thehead of government. The president nominates the PM and all government members, withparliamentary approval; Tajikistan is hence a presidential republic. Tajikistan held a constitutional referendum on 22 June 2003 and the 2003Constitution, among other amendments, set the term limits of thepresidency to two seven-year terms. Emomalii Rahmon’s election to the office of president in 2006 counts as hisfirst seven-year term under the 2003 Constitution; theoretically, he may bere-elected for a second term in 2013, that second term ending in 2020. In this geographically divided nation, the ritual post of PM is usually held byan individual from the north to nominally balance President EmomaliiRahmon’s southern roots. In 2004, the executive branch fell under the ruling power’s control, withnominations by Rahmon leaving the opposition having only five percent ofkey government posts; this event followed the termination of the 1997peace guarantee that the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) would control aminimum of 30 percent of top government posts. Before the 2006 election, the Council of Ministers, which conducts thepresident’s decisions, comprised two Deputy PMs, 19 ministers, ninecommission heads, and several ex-officio members; subsequent to thatelection, Rahmon eliminated 10 ministries and five state commissions andre-nominated Oqil Oqilov as PM. Rahmon is also said to have collected considerable informal power bymeans of patronage.
Tajikistan’s political system:Legislative branch The bicameral Supreme Assembly (Majlisi Oli) comprises the63-seat Assembly of Representatives (Majlisinamoyandagon), which convenes year-round (fromNovember through the end of June); the 33-seat NationalAssembly (Majlisi milli) meets at least twice every year. The September 1999 Constitution brought forth the bicamerallegislature; before that, Tajikistan had a unicamerallegislature. The members of the Assembly of Representatives areselected through direct popular election for a five-year term;of that assembly’s 63 members, 22 are elected by party, inproportion to the number of votes gained by every partywinning a minimum of five percent of total votes, and theremaining members are elected from single-memberconstituencies. In the National Assembly, three-fourths of the members areselected by the representatives of the local representativeassemblies (majlisi) in the nation’s four major administrativedivisions and in the cities secondary directly to centralgovernment; all of those subnational jurisdictions is permittedequal representation. The president directly nominates the remaining members. Following the 2005 elections, the pro-government People’sDemocratic Party maintained control of both houses ofparliament, taking 52/63 seats in the Assembly ofRepresentatives. In 2006, 11 women sat in the Assembly of Representatives;five sat in the National Assembly. Opposition groups in the Supreme Assembly have brokenwith pro-government members concerning some matters.
Tajikistan’s political system:Judicial branch The constitution provides for an independent judiciary. The highest court is the Supreme Court; other high courts consist of the Supreme EconomicCourt and the Constitutional Court, which determines questions of constitutionality. With the legislature’s consent, the president nominates the judges of these three courts. In addition, there is a Military Court. The judges of all courts are nominated to ten-year terms. Whereas the judiciary is technically independent, the executive branch and criminalorganizations have a significant effect on judicial tasks. Corruption of judges, who are badly paid and badly instructed, is usual. The court structure has local, district, regional, and national levels; each higher court serves asan appellate court for the level beneath. Appeals of court decisions are uncommon because the public usually does not trust the judicialstructure. Constitutional guarantees to the right to a lawyer and to a prompt and public trial are regularlydisregarded. The Soviet period assumption of the defendant’s responsibility is still in effect. Criminal investigations are carried out by the procurator’s office. Excluding instances of national security, trials are heard by juries.
Tajikistan’s political system:Administrative divisions Tajikistan is made up of four administrativedivisions: the provinces (viloyat) of Sughd andKhatlon, the self-governing province (viloyatimukhtor) of Gorno-Badakhshan (Tajik: ViloyatiMukhtori Kuhistoni Badakhshon), and the Regionof Republican subordination (RaionyRespublikanskogo Podchineniya from theRussian, or in Tajik: Ноҳияҳои тобеи ҷумҳурӣ;previously known as Karotegin Province). The capital of Sughd is Khujand (previouslyLeninabad); the capital of Khatlon isQurghonteppa (previously Kurgan-Tyube); thecapital of Gorno-Badakhshan is Khorugh(previously Khorog). The national capital, Dushanbe, is additionally theadministrative center of the Region of RepublicanSubordination. Each region is split into a number of districts(Tajik: ноҳия, nohiya or raion), which in turn aresubdivided into jamoats (village-level autonomousentities). From 2008, there were 58 districts and 367jamoats in Tajikistan; additionally, subregionalentities comprised 17 towns and 54 urban-typesettlements (Tajik: шаҳрак).
Tajikistan’s political system:Provincial and local government Local government is split into representative and executive branches. The assembly (majlis) of people’s deputies (elected locally to a five-yearterm) is the representative branch in provinces, towns, and districts. The executive power in provinces, towns, and districts is vested in the leaderof local administration, directly nominated by the President, by the localmajlis’ consent.
Tajikistan’s political system:Electoral system Suffrage is universal for citizens aged 18 and older. A new election law that was passed in 2004 has been met with global criticism for its limitingnominee registration requirements. Election calls for an absolute majority of votes; if no nominee achieves a majority, a secondround is held between the top two vote obtainers. By controlling the Central Election Commission, the Rahmon has obtained influence overregistering parties, the holding of referenda, and election processes. In 1999 and 2003, referenda of doubtful fairness made constitutional modifications thatincreased Rahmon’s hold on authority. Global spectators also uncovered large indiscretions in the manner of the 1999 presidentialelection; in that election, only one opposition nomine was allowed registration, and the mediawas censored. While six parties took part in the subsequent 2000 and 2005 parliamentaryelections, spectators in both instances reported state intervention with the procedure and withopposition nominees’ media access. Rahmon effortlessly won re-election in November 2006, with 79 percent of the vote againstfour little-known challengers; once again, global monitors concluded that the election was notfair. Three big opposition parties (the Democratic Party, the Islamic Rebirth Party, and the SocialDemocratic Party) refused to participate in that election.
Tajikistan’s political system:Major parties People’s Democratic Party ofTajikistan (55) Islamic Renaissance Party ofTajikistan (2) Communist Party of Tajikistan (2) Agrarian Party (2) Party of Economic Reforms ofTajikistan (2)
Emomalii Rahmon Born 5 October 1952 in Kulob. Has served as Tajikistan’s head of statesince 1992, and as the 3rd and currentPresident since 1994. Also the 1st and current Chairman of thePeople’s Democratic Party of Tajikistansince 10 December 1994. Served as Chairman of the SupremeAssembly of the Republic of Tajikistanfrom 20 November 1992-16 November1994. Faced a civil war in the early years of hispresidency; up to 100,000 peopleperished. Began his third term in office in 2006. His presidency has been dealt with inunsympathetic terms, primarily due toviolations of human rights, and bribery.
Oqil Oqilov Born 2 February 1944 in Khujand. 7th and current PM of Tajikistan since20 December 1999. Member of the People’s DemocraticParty of Tajikistan.
People’s Democratic Party ofTajikistan Statist, secular political party in Tajikistan. Currently the governing party; led by thecurrent President of Tajikistan, EmomaliiRahmon. Won 74% of the popular vote and 52/63seats during the 27 February and 13March 2005 legislative elections (widelybelieved to have been manipulated inRahmon’s favour by observers). This was an increase from the 2000elections, during which they acquired64.9% of the vote and 38 seats. Obtained 71.69% of the popular vote and45/63 seats during the last legislativeelections. Its headquarters are located in the Palaceof Unity in Dushanbe.
Communist Party of Tajikistan Far-left political party in Tajikistan. Won 13.97% of the popular vote and4/63 seats in the 2005 parliamentaryelection. Affiliated with the Communist Party ofthe Soviet Union of Oleg Shenin.