: RFE/RL: Referendum to tighten grip on power of Tajik leader

14:25 May. 22, 2016

RFE/RL: Referendum to tighten grip on power of Tajik leader

Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon casts his ballot at a polling station in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Sunday, May 22, 2016 (AP photo)

The last referendum in Tajikistan took place in 2003 and changed the one-term limit for the president to a two-term limit

Tajikistan is holding a referendum on amendments to the constitution that are expected to strengthen the grip on power of President Emomali Rahmon.

The May 22 referendum includes 41 proposed amendments to the constitution.

Voters can either vote "yes" or "no" to the package. It is not possible to vote on individual amendments.

Watch also Tajikistan imposes genetic tests for future married couples

The Central Election Commission declared the referendum valid, putting the turnout at 66.6 percent -- more than the required 50 percent. 

The most important proposed amendments include eliminating the term limit for Rahmon, lowering the age of eligibility to become president, and banning the creation of faith-based political parties.

The term-limit amendment would apply only to Rahmon, owing to the "leader of the nation" status parliament voted to grant him last year, which also affords him and his family permanent immunity from criminal prosecution.

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