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Are Political Parties Relevant in Tajikistan?

As eight parties gear up for Tajikistan’s parliamentary election in February, reporter Muzaffar Rustamov asks political experts how much of a role they play.
By IWPR Central Asia
At a meeting with political parties ahead of the election, President Imomali Rahmon told state institutions not to interfere with the process.

Only three parties are currently represented in parliament – Rahmon’s own People’s Democratic Party, PDP, dominates, while the Communists and the Islamic Rebirth Party hold a handful of seats between them.

Abdughani Mamadazimov, head of the Association of Political Scientists, says all the parties are fairly weak and invisible; even the PDP is overshadowed by its leader, President Rahmon.

Some analysts questioned whether a multi-party system can work in Tajikistan, while others said parties were essential but needed to become more active and perhaps merge to articulate common, more clearly defined policy aims.

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