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Tajik President's Reelection Bid Finds Support Online

While President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan became the favorite target of online ridicule in the run-up to November 6 elections, the veteran leader has also found rather unexpected support from some netizens. With less than six weeks to go before the presidential vote, several bloggers say they will vote for Rahmon who has led the country since 1992.

On ASIA-Plus blog, Alisher Ko suggests [ru] that Tajikistan “does not need any president other than Emomali Rahmon”:

Потому что он зарекомендовал себя, он – личность, он стал неким примером для подражания более молодым политикам, он вытащил страну из кризиса, сделал все возможное, для того чтобы мы сейчас жили более-менее сносно. Не побоюсь этого слова, если скажу, что Эмомали Рахмон стал брендом нашего государства…

Заслуги Эмомали Рахмона в обеспечении мира и спокойствия, единства и сплоченности таджикского народа очевидны…

Because he has shown his worth; he is a strong person; he has become an example that younger politicians emulate; he led the country out of crisis; and he has done everything he could to make sure that we live more or less well now. I would even say without hesitation that Emomali Rahmon has become our country's brand…

Emomali Rahmon's contribution to ensuring peace and stability, unity and solidarity of the Tajik people are obvious…

The blogger adds [ru]:

Еще такой немаловажный момент. Президент должен нести личную ответственность за судьбу нашей государственности. Нам нужен «свой де Голль», у которого в одной руке была демократия, а в другой меч против хаоса и вседозволенности, которая используется для распада государства. Президент должен быть львом и лисой одновременно… Под все эти характеристики подпадает никто иной, как Эмомали Рахмон.

There is another thing too. The president should be personally responsible for the future of our statehood. We need our own “de Gaulle” [French general and statesman, regarded as the most influential leader of modern France], who would hold democracy in one hand and a sword in another hand, to use the latter against chaos and permissiveness that lead to the collapse of the state. A president has to be a lion and a fox at the same time… Nobody matches these criteria better than Emomali Rahmon.

A giant portrait of the president mounted on the building of the Ministry of Agriculture in central Dushanbe. Image by Alexander Sodiqov, July 2013.

A giant portrait of the president mounted on the building of the Ministry of Agriculture in central Dushanbe. Image by Alexander Sodiqov, July 2013.

The author of another blog, “Russkaia Letopis’ Tadzhikistana” [Russian Chronicles of Tajikistan], explains [ru] why he is going to vote for Tajikistan's veteran president:

[Я] считаю, что в существующих на сегодняшний день условиях нет кандидата на президенсткий пост лучше, чем он. Во-первых, мы знаем кто он, чего от стоит, и чего от него можно ожидать. Известность всегда лучше, чем неизвестность. Во-вторых, Рахмон при всех его недостатках человек очень сильный, способный принимать волевые решения. В-третьих, мне глубоко симпатизируют его приоритеты по развитию Таджикистана…

Как и любой человек, Рахмон конечно не без изъянов, и проблем в период его пребывания у власти в Таджикистане хватало. Однако я на данный момент не вижу никого, кто мог бы хотя бы попытаться решить эти проблемы лучше, чем он.

I believe that there is no better candidate for president than [Rahmon] at the moment. First, we know who he is, what he is worth, and what we can expected of him. Knowing is always better than not knowing. Second, with all his shortcomings, Rahmon is a very strong person, capable of making difficult decisions. Third, I genuinely support his development priorities for Tajikistan…

As any human being, Rahmon is not without shortcomings; and Tajikistan has had many problems during his presidency. However, I cannot think of anyone at the moment who would at least try to resolve those problems better than him.

Blogger Tojikzamin has a very different motivation for supporting the incumbent president. He writes [tj]:

Сабаби муҳимтарини дастгирии ман аз номзадии “Ҷаноби Олӣ” дар он аст, ки ӯ аллакай аз бист сол зиёд шуд ки давлатро роҳбарӣ мекунад. Чуноне ки халқ мегӯяд, ӯ аллакай аз дуздиву ришвахӯрӣ “сер шуд”. Кӯдакону хешовандонаш ҳам сер шуданд. Акнун ба мардуми оддӣ ҳам кам-кам аз дастовардҳои афзоиши иқтисодӣ мерасад.

Дигар кас раисҷумҳур шавад агар пеш аз ҳама худашро ва кӯдакону хешовандонашро сер мекунад. Дан ин сурат чанд соли дигар мардуми оддӣ сахт алам мекашад.

Ана аз ин сабаб ман ба Эмомалӣ Раҳмон овоз медиҳам. Раиси сер аз раиси гушна беҳтар аст.

The main reason why I support [Emomali Rahmon's] candidacy is because he has already led the state for more than 20 years. As people say, he is already “fed up” with stealing and taking bribes. His children and relatives are also already fed up. Now ordinary people have a chance to benefit a little from the country's economic development .

If another person becomes president, they will first of all begin “feeding” themselves as well as their children and relatives. In this case, ordinary people will continue suffering for years.

This is the reason why I will vote for Emomali Rahmon. A full leader is better than a hungry one.

Hence, despite the recent social media buzz about Tajikistan's first ever female presidential candidate Oynikhol Bobonazarova, the incumbent president also finds support among the country's netizens. This support is even greater among a much larger group of Tajikistani voters which lives outside main urban areas and does not have internet access. As the author of this story suggests in his personal blog, the majority of voters in Tajikistan are not aware of candidates other than Rahmon or do not care about elections at all. With the authorities trying hard to keep it this way, Emomali Rahmon is assured of an easy victory in the upcoming vote.

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