Voters in Uzbekistan have given overwhelming support to constitutional changes which could enable President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to continue ruling until 2040, as per preliminary results released on Monday.
The elections commission revealed that around 90% of voters supported the reforms, with a voter turnout of approximately 85% in the ex-Soviet nation where the government’s authoritarian tendencies restrict freedom of expression, according to human rights organizations.
Mirziyoyev, aged 65, became president in 2016 following the death of the dictator, Islam Karimov.
The overhaul of the constitution will supposedly enhance governance and quality of living in the landlocked Central Asian country of 35 million individuals, whose liberties have remained strictly restricted. However, analysts predict that the president will benefit himself the most in the predominantly Muslim nation.
As a part of the proposed changes, presidential terms would be extended from five to seven years, allowing him to serve two more terms and remain in power until 2040.