On Sunday (24 October) Presidential elections took place in Uzbekistan. The EU welcomes that voting took place in a calm and peaceful manner, with a high turnout and no evidence of serious tensions. We welcome the fact that a full-fledged International Election Observation Mission was deployed.
The EU takes note of the Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions made by the International Election Observation Mission undertaken by OSCE/ODIHR, with the involvement of members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and a delegation from the European Parliament. We look forward to the final report and the recommendations it will contain.
However, as these findings show, we regret that there was a lack of genuine electoral competition in this election. Independent opposition parties were excluded from the registration process contrary to international standards and OSCE commitments. Ahead of the election, there were reported cases of intimidation directed against media and civil society, including restrictions on the use of social media, which reduce the space for open and engaged political discourse. In addition, significant procedural irregularities were noted by international observers on election day itself.
This election was an opportunity for Uzbekistan’s voters to show their backing for the continuation of the government’s important reform programme, however further progress is necessary to complete the process of democratisation if elections aim to achieve full legitimacy.
The EU remains committed to continue supporting Uzbekistan’s reforms and to strengthening its relations with this important and valued partner in Central Asia.