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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Uzbekistan to Hold Presidential Vote

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- Uzbeks will go to the polls in a presidential election Dec. 23, the Central Election Commission said Tuesday, ending months of uncertainty as to what would happen after President Islam Karimov's term expired.

There was no immediate word on whether Karimov, in power since 1989, would seek another term, although there are no other obvious candidates. Opposition parties are outlawed in the mostly Muslim state of 26 million.

"During a meeting a decision was made to start the presidential election campaign on Sept. 21 and hold the election on Dec. 23," a Central Election Commission official said by telephone.

The Central Asian state has never held a vote judged free and fair by international election monitors.

In 2002, the parliament extended Karimov's latest and theoretically last term in office until this December. He has also previously extended his term in referendums.