Election fraud alleged in Tajikistan D. Wes Rist at 8:41 AM ET
[JURIST] Opposition parties, as well as election monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe [official website], alleged Monday that fraud had tainted the weekend parliamentary elections held in Tajikistan [BBC country profile; DC embassy website]. Tajikistan's largest opposition party, the Islamic Renaissance Party, has accused government agents of vote-rigging and false reporting. OSCE observers stated that they witnessed "direct falsification" that they believe casts the entire election into doubt. The elections were not expected to cause a power shift, as President Emomali Rakhmonov [profile] and his ruling National Democratic Party hold all but two parliamentary seats. In the months leading up to the election Rakhmanov began closing independent and opposition newspapers and lauched criminal investigations into to opposition candidates. Read the OSCE press release and the statement on preliminary findings [official PDF text]. AP has more.
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