July 2023 | Mirziyoyev re-elected
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev was re-elected for a seven-year term on 9 July in a snap election called after a referendum rewrote the country’s constitution and extended presidential terms from five to seven years. The Central Election Commission reported Mirziyoyev received 87 per cent of the vote with over 80 per cent turnout in an election environment without any meaningful public participation or tangible opposition. Independent media reported a lackluster campaign with a foregone conclusion, and election observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe reported “serious irregularities … challenging the integrity of the [electoral] process.” As the recent constitutional changes also reset the incumbent’s number of terms in office to zero, Mirziyoyev, who is 65, is now poised to stay in power at least until 2037.
May 2023 | Uzbekistan to head to the polls again
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced early presidential elections for 9 July during remarks to parliament on 8 May, more than three years ahead of schedule. Taking advantage of constitutional changes approved in last month’s referendum, the elections will allow Mirziyoyev to remain in office for two more seven-year terms. International observers found the referendum to be “short of genuine political pluralism and competition” and noted numerous serious violations, and analysts have described the repeated voting processes as a method for authoritarian consolidation rather than reform.
April 2023 | Constitutional referendum to keep Mirziyoyev in power
A package of constitutional reforms passed with 90.21 per cent of the vote on 30 April, clearing the path for President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to stay in power through 2040. The constitutional overhaul includes a ban on forced labour, the right to free education and healthcare, and necessitating a court order for evicting citizens from their homes. Citizens and observers were quietly sceptical of the sincerity of the process, the seventh constitutional overhaul since 1992, as open dissent was not permitted and public employees were forced to take part in pro-reform rallies.
March 2023 | Date for constitutional referendum finally set
On 15 March, the upper house of parliament approved a bill proposing changes to 65 per cent of the country’s constitution and setting a date for a national referendum on 30 April. The third constitutional referendum in the country’s history was originally planned for 2022, but was delayed following mass protests and violence against the removal of the western Karakalpakstan region’s autonomous status. The referendum preparation process has been marked by a show of mass participation and support with little in the way of details on the actual changes themselves. Domestic critics and analysts say any changes are sure to be superficial and the key purpose is to permit President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to stay in power for decades to come.