Uzbek president calls snap poll under new constitution

BAKU (Reuters): Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said on Monday he was calling a snap presidential election on July 9 to give himself a new mandate to help deal with “sharp and complex processes” going on in the world.

Uzbek voters approved a package of constitutional amendments in a referendum on April 30 that allows Mirziyoyev to run for two more terms, and extends each term to seven years from five.

There are no big opposition figures in the Central Asian country of 35 million who could compete with Mirziyoyev, praised both at home and abroad for liberalising the former Soviet republic and opening up its economy to foreign trade and investment.

Mirziyoyev, 65, said that he felt he needed a fresh mandate to carry out further reforms, despite having served less than two years of his current term.

“In the current situation where sharp and complex processes are prevailing in the world and in our region, finding the right and effective path of development and its implementation is becoming the most acute and urgent issue,” he said.

Mirziyoyev’s executive order published afterwards said the vote would be held on July 9.