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President of Uzbek heading towards landslide victory in elections

Although Shavkat Mirziyoyev may have relaxed some of the policies of his dictatorial predecessors, he has not made any effort to reform politics.

Mirziyoyev took office in 2016 after the death Islam Karimov. He now faces four candidates with low visibility. They sent proxies and didn't show up to the televised debates. Independent candidates were not allowed.

"The other candidates talk only about abstract things, such as strengthening social security, but don't give any details. Akhmed Rahmonov, a political analyst, said that they don't have any real program.

Alisher Qodirov was the only Mirziyoyev opponent to get significant attention in the campaign. He proposed that Uzbeks who work outside of the country pay taxes in Uzbekistan. This is a controversial idea considering the large proportion of the population that relies on remittances from relatives abroad.

Mirziyoyev expressed open disagreement with the proposal. Some observers suggested that Qodirov's party, which is in coalition in the parliament with Mirziyoyev, made the proposal in order to channel votes towards the incumbent.

Mirziyoyev has seen freedom of speech expand compared to the Karimov era's suppression. Independent news media outlets and bloggers have also emerged under his leadership. To counter dissident views, Karimov had tightened restrictions on Islam in the country predominantly Muslim.

He also lifted restrictions on hard currency to encourage foreign investment and attempted to repair the damaged relations with Karimov.

Andrey Kazantsev, of the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Relations, stated that Mirziyoyev had improved relations with the West, Russia and China, as well as resolving conflicts between neighbors, including peaceful interaction with Afghanistan.

Uzbekistan shares a border with Afghanistan of 144 kilometers (89 miles). Uzbekistan has always worried about the possibility that conflicts could escalate. After the Taliban took over the country in August, the ex-Soviet Republic's foreign minister was the first foreign official who visited Afghanistan.

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