Uzbeks support upcoming constitutional changes, longer presidential term


Uzbeks gave overwhelming approval in a referendum to constitutional changes that promise human rights reforms but that also would allow the country’s president to stay in office until 2040, the country’s central elections commission said Monday.
More than 90 per cent of those who cast ballots Sunday voted for the measure, which was heavily promoted by the government, according to the commission. Nearly 85 per cent of eligible voters took part, it said.
The changes include lengthening the presidential term from five to seven years, while retaining the existing two-term limit. Although President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is in his second term, the change in term length would allow him to run twice more after his current tenure ends in 2026.
Other changes include abolishing capital punishment and boosting legal protections for citizens, including those accused of crimes.Under Mirziyoyev’s predecessor, Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan was one of the region’s most repressive countries.