Uzbek president heading toward landslide win in election

Uzbekistan Election

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AP) — Uzbeks voted Sunday in a presidential election that the incumbent is expected to win in a landslide against weak competition.

Although President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has relaxed many of the policies of his dictatorial predecessor, he has made little effort at political reform.

Mirziyoyev, who took office in 2016 upon the death of Islam Karimov, faces four relatively low-visibility candidates who didn't even show up for televised debates, instead sending proxies who failed to engage in substantial discussions. Independent candidates weren't allowed.

“The other candidates talk about abstract things like strengthening social security, but they don't provide any details. They don't have a real program and they don't have to because they know who will win,” political analyst Akhmed Rahmonov said.

Despite the absence of significant competition, voter turnout was strong. The elections commission said that by 5 p.m. (1200 GMT), three hours before the polls closed, more than 70% of the electorate had cast ballots.