Tajikistan, a former republic of the U.S.S.R. which supposedly gained independence from Russia, is characterized by a political set up that is not democratic.
Despite having a democratic form of government, the country has been ruled by a president who has occupied the country’s highest seat of power since 1992. President Emomali Rahmon came into power as a result of a a bloodthirsty civil war that claimed the lives of about 20,000 Tajiks.
How Rahmon Has Stayed in Power for Three Decades
Since then and up to the present, Rahmon, who is now 68 years old was able to retain his presidency by way of constitutional referendums. All of which resulted in overwhelming votes that approved the extension of his term as president.
Previous constitutional referendums held in between 1999 and 2003 also focused on extending Rahmon’s stay in power. His latest victory was in October 2020, which was the fifth referendum that showed overwhelming results favoring his authoritarian rule. The October 2020 referendum showed that 94% of those who voted were in favor of letting Rahmon continue as president of Tajikistan.
Although the country’s poverty rate improved from 66.8 percent in 2003 down to 17.8 percent in 2015, Tajikistan still counts as among the poorest nation in Europe and in Central Asia.
Rahmon’s victories and long term rule are not without protest actions but many protesters seemed to have lost hope, since in neighboring countries like Belarus and Kyrgyzstan have border issues with the government is still ongoing .