Uzbeks Vote For Continuity

Uzbeks Vote For Continuity

TASHKENT, March 31 (Bernama) — Islam Karimov, who retained his post as the President of Uzbekistan in a landslide election victory on Sunday, has been described by his ardent supporters as a humble person who would even go down to the cotton fields during the harvest season to give encouragement to the cotton farmers.

The 77-year-old Karimov, who has led the former Soviet Union nation since the late 1980s, was seen as a popular figure during the presidential election to continue to lead Uzbekistan and move the country forward through democratic and economic reforms.

It is obvious from the 90.4 per cent of the votes that he obtained that the people of Uzbekistan want continuity in prosperity and peace, an important factor for Uzbeks who want to “feel safe even when going out at night”. Many also see Karimov as a capable leader who is strong and intelligent.

“He is strong and clever and has given us a chance to live in a free, democratic and peaceful country,” said Feruza Kurbanova, head of the Information Service, Chief Editor of Uzbekistan Wings, a newspaper of the Uzbekistan Airways, who had voted for Karimov.

She also described the president as an “ordinary” person who would be together with the cotton farmers during the harvest season.

Apart from Karimov, who is from the Liberal Democratic Party, the other three candidates were Khatamjan Ketmonov of the People’s Democratic Party; Narimon Umarov of the Social Democratic Adolat (Justice) Party and Akmal Saidov of the Democratic National Renaissance Party.

Indonesian observer H. M. Dja’far Siddiq, 82, of the East Kalimantan Development Study Centre, commended Karimov for his efforts in instilling the spirit of Islam in the secular state.

Dja’far, who is a “veteran” observer in Uzbekistan’s elections, said that when he was in Uzbekistan in 1994, three years after the country gained independence from the Soviet Union, the Imam al-Bukhari Mosque in Samarkand was not in a good condition.

“But now, he (the president) has turned it into a beautiful mosque and a memorial complex,” he told Bernama, saying that the younger generation were also becoming more interested in Islam.

Youths also credit the president for giving them opportunities to further their studies. First-time voter Nodiza Mavtondva said she was happy that there were many areas for youths to develop themselves, especially in the sphere of education.

“There are so many universities, including international ones, in Taskhent, like the Singapore Management Institute,” said the final-year Economic Finance student of Westminster University.

She also feels that the most important quality of a president is his responsibility to his nation and people.

“I like the president to pay more attention to the economy, especially since our economy is a developing one. We need to have a special strategy to develop our economy, improve economic growth and developing small business,” she said when met at one of the polling stations here.

In BUKHARA, the birthplace of Imam al-Bukhari and a city described as a “city museum” that is about two hours by flight from Tashkent, English teacher Rahima Norova, 36, who volunteered as a translator during the presidential election, said the president had encouraged youths to further their education through the many universities that had been set up.

“I was 13 years old when Uzbekistan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. I have seen how the youths and the young people have been given various opportunities in education,” she told Bernama.

Central Election Commission chairman Mirza-Ulugbek Abdusalomov, who announced the preliminary results on Monday, said more than 18,928,000 people or 91.01 per cent turned out to cast their votes on Sunday.

About 300 observers were invited from 43 countries, including Malaysia, and five international organisations to monitor the election.

The Malaysian observers included Dewan Negara deputy president Datuk Doris Sophia Brodi; Election Commission deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah and Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) senior vice-president Max Say.

Malaysia established diplomatic relations with Uzbekistan, one of the world’s biggest producers of cotton and a country rich in natural resources including oil, gas and gold, in February 1992.

— BERNAMA

The 77-year-old Karimov, who has led the former Soviet Union nation since the late 1980s, was seen as a popular figure during the presidential election to continue to lead Uzbekistan and move the country forward through democratic and economic reforms.

It is obvious from the 90.4 per cent of the votes that he obtained that the people of Uzbekistan want continuity in prosperity and peace, an important factor for Uzbeks who want to “feel safe even when going out at night”. Many also see Karimov as a capable leader who is strong and intelligent.

“He is strong and clever and has given us a chance to live in a free, democratic and peaceful country,” said Feruza Kurbanova, head of the Information Service, Chief Editor of Uzbekistan Wings, a newspaper of the Uzbekistan Airways, who had voted for Karimov.

She also described the president as an “ordinary” person who would be together with the cotton farmers during the harvest season.

Apart from Karimov, who is from the Liberal Democratic Party, the other three candidates were Khatamjan Ketmonov of the People’s Democratic Party; Narimon Umarov of the Social Democratic Adolat (Justice) Party and Akmal Saidov of the Democratic National Renaissance Party.

Indonesian observer H. M. Dja’far Siddiq, 82, of the East Kalimantan Development Study Centre, commended Karimov for his efforts in instilling the spirit of Islam in the secular state.

Dja’far, who is a “veteran” observer in Uzbekistan’s elections, said that when he was in Uzbekistan in 1994, three years after the country gained independence from the Soviet Union, the Imam al-Bukhari Mosque in Samarkand was not in a good condition.

“But now, he (the president) has turned it into a beautiful mosque and a memorial complex,” he told Bernama, saying that the younger generation were also becoming more interested in Islam.

Youths also credit the president for giving them opportunities to further their studies. First-time voter Nodiza Mavtondva said she was happy that there were many areas for youths to develop themselves, especially in the sphere of education.

“There are so many universities, including international ones, in Taskhent, like the Singapore Management Institute,” said the final-year Economic Finance student of Westminster University.

She also feels that the most important quality of a president is his responsibility to his nation and people.

“I like the president to pay more attention to the economy, especially since our economy is a developing one. We need to have a special strategy to develop our economy, improve economic growth and developing small business,” she said when met at one of the polling stations here.

In BUKHARA, the birthplace of Imam al-Bukhari and a city described as a “city museum” that is about two hours by flight from Tashkent, English teacher Rahima Norova, 36, who volunteered as a translator during the presidential election, said the president had encouraged youths to further their education through the many universities that had been set up.

“I was 13 years old when Uzbekistan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. I have seen how the youths and the young people have been given various opportunities in education,” she told Bernama.

Central Election Commission chairman Mirza-Ulugbek Abdusalomov, who announced the preliminary results on Monday, said more than 18,928,000 people or 91.01 per cent turned out to cast their votes on Sunday.

About 300 observers were invited from 43 countries, including Malaysia, and five international organisations to monitor the election.

The Malaysian observers included Dewan Negara deputy president Datuk Doris Sophia Brodi; Election Commission deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah and Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) senior vice-president Max Say.

Malaysia established diplomatic relations with Uzbekistan, one of the world’s biggest producers of cotton and a country rich in natural resources including oil, gas and gold, in February 1992.

— BERNAMA