Parties in Tajikistan - today and tomorrow
text: Oleg Sidorov , exclusively for Gazeta.kz
Starting from the last year, political parties of Tajikistan are preparing for the presidential election due to take place in late 2006.
Currently there are eight officially registered political parties in Tajikistan:
The Popular Democratic Party of Tajikistan;
The Democratic Party of Tajikistan;
The Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan;
The Communist Party of Tajikistan;
The Socialist Party of Tajikistan;
The Party of Islamic Revival of Tajikistan;
The Agrarian Party of Tajikistan;
The Party of Economic Reforms of Tajikistan.
The two latter parties were registered in late 2005.
At the same time several opposition parties could not get an official status. In the first place there are two such public associations:
At the same time activities of the registered parties allow us to state with certainty the existence of a multipartite system and development of democracy in this Central Asian republic.
Several international organisations met them and marked their activities.
Thus, in June 2006 representatives of all eight political parties of Tajikistan met a representative of the OSCE Commission on Security and Co-operation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission.)
Obviously, the main subject of the meeting was the discussion of the forthcoming presidential election due to take place this November.
At the same time the interior political situation in Tajikistan is gradually becoming more and more dynamic. And there are reasons for that both interior and exterior ones.
So, the interior reasons are as follows:
Struggles between the political parties for a place at the political Olympus;
The appearance of several candidates for President as a consequence of that;
The formation of party coalitions in support or against the current/potential new President of the Republic;
Struggles between clans for extension/maintenance of their spheres of influence in the Republic;
The redistribution of financial flows to minimise the negative attitude of the population of the Republic, their discontent about the low living standard, a big number of the unemployed, the absence of a state social policy, постоянным a constant growth of prices for essential goods, and the construction boom of villas and cottages built by businessmen and state officials.
The exterior factors:
A growing interest on the part of big players (Europe, USA, and Russia);
A growing interest of different financial institutions towards an opportunity of allocating financial funds to implement profitable projects a priori;
Intensified activities of international organisations that seek to gain trust via sponsorship activities and receive a sort of a carte-blanche for "democracy projects" in Tajikistan after the presidential elections.
All the abovementioned factors result in political processes currently developing in this Central Asia republic and in the growing interest of the exterior players showing that Tajikistan does not stay aside the regional processes.
And it is really obvious, because as a result of the election it will become clear whether the country will continue its peaceful existence or it will turn into a hot spot.
At the same time the specifics of the interior political situation in Tajikistan are influences by activities of both interior and exterior political forces. Many realise that any activity of political parties and their leaders at the forthcoming election, that is everyday reality in European countries (meetings, demos, manifestations, pickets, and the pre-election programmes themselves with their big sets of PR actions) cannot be applied in Tajikistan that only recovers from the horrors of the civil war.
Today Tajikistan is a unique country, where the pre-election campaign will be so correct that it will not provoke irritation of political opponents, whose confederates only yesterday fought with machine guns in the mountainous areas.
The nomination of candidates for the President of Tajikistan is a separate issue. The leaders of the existing parties are far less popular than the current President of Tajikistan. At the same time the situation in the republic still remains tense.
As from 1 January the tariffs for consumption of gas (and for several other services) were raised. Now the price for 1,000 cm of gas is 250 somoni (1 USD is 3.38 somoni).
Besides, according to the poverty assessment carried out by the World Bank in 2003, 64% of the population lived beyond the poverty line. The situation did not change in 2006. The country avoids only demographic problems. According to the Tajik government's State Statistic Committee there are 6 million 920.3 thousand people in Tajikistan.
But most probably, the elections will follow a certain scenario and all parts will be performed in accordance with certain music.
At the same time the interior political situation combined with hard socioeconomic conditions allow us to suggest that alternative forces will try to use the tense situation in the republic on the eve of the presidential election, including errors of the current government and President, to swell the numbers of their own following.
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