Tajikistan's new bill allows unlimited terms for president

Tajik lawmakers approve constitutional reform which allows president to serve for unlimited terms

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Emomali Rakhmon, right, President of Tajikistan, gestures during a news conference in Berlin, Germany, Dec. 14, 2011

Tajikistan's parliament approved constitutional changes on Friday which gives President Emomali Rakhmon the right to run for any number of terms, citing his status as "Leader of the Nation", a title bestowed by lawmakers last month.

Constitutional changes and a referendum have already allowed Rakhmon to successfully run for president four times, most recently in 2013, when he was re-elected for a seven-year term.

The parliament, dominated by Rakhmon's supporters, has sent the amendments to the constitutional court to be reviewed, the final stage before a popular vote.

Another proposed amendment reduces the minimum age for presidential candidates to 30 from 35. Rakhmon's elder son, Rustam Imomali, is 28 and will be 33 when his father's second term ends in 2020.

A third major change will ban political parties from being established based on religious platforms. This will ensure that the main opposition force, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, does not reform after being outlawed last year.

Although Tajikistan does not export oil, the plunge in oil prices has hit the country hard, partly because hundreds of thousands of Tajiks work in Russia and support their families through remittances whose value has shrunk due to the rouble's decline.

TRTWorld, Reuters