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Tajikistan Election To Go Ahead

November 5, 1999

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan (AP) _ Tajikistan will go ahead with a presidential election Saturday, though there may be only one candidate.

Election ballots have been printed with the names of incumbent President Emomali Rakhmonov and a candidate from the Islamic Revival Party, Davlat Usmon.

However, the Islamic Revival Party pulled out of the elections Wednesday, the latest move in a complex dispute in which the party first accused the government of blocking its attempts to get on the ballot, then of allowing the party onto the ballot improperly.

The party’s departure appears to leave Rakhmonov as the sole candidate.

But the deputy chief of the Tajik Central Electoral Commission, Mizrob Kabirov, told a news conference Friday that Usmon hasn’t formally withdrawn from the race and appears to have continued campaigning.

``Davlat Usmon has not notified the Central Electoral Commission of his refusal to run,″ Kabirov told a news conference. And, at his own request, Usmon’s pictures and biographical information as a presidential candidate had been printed in the national media.

Rakhmonov’s hard-line government and an Islamic rebel movement signed a peace deal in 1997, ending five years of civil war in the former Soviet republic. But many rebels and former government fighters oppose the peace deal, and Tajikistan remains restive.

Some 2.8 million Tajiks are eligible to vote in the election, which will be conducted in 2,700 polling stations. For the election to be considered valid, voter turnout must be at least 50 percent. The winning candidate must win 50 percent, plus one vote.

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