On 18 December 2019 the round table: “Evolution of Uzbekistan’s political system” was held at the Moscow office of the DOC Research Institute ”. The meeting was attended by representatives of academic community as well as by experts on Central Asia.
Arkady Dubnov from the Carnegie Moscow Center compiled a report analysing the current political situation in Uzbekistan in anticipation of the 22 December parliamentary elections.
Greater attention being paid to the upcoming elections is to a large extent determined by the fact that this is the first parliamentary election in Uzbekistan after Islam Karimov. At the same time, Dubnov emphasised, there are no obvious signs that would indicate significant changes in Uzbekistan’s political system. This can be partially explained by the natural character of the authoritarian leadership style in Uzbekistan, as well as in neighbouring Kazakhstan – a fact that is unofficially recognised even by the leadership of these Central Asian states. In Uzbekistan, the expert noted, there is a regime that can be called “electoral autocracy”, and in such a system, elections are largely a cosmetic feature, while parliament does not significantly affect the policies of the executive branch.
At the same time, under the current president, a gradual and authoritarian modernisation from above is being carried out, aimed at intensifying the country’s socio-economic development. Visible evidence of this process was admission of a full-fledged OSCE observation mission before parliamentary elections. On the other hand, a number of objective obstacles constrain this transformation process. One of the most significant constraints is the lack of investment caused by, among other things, the fact that a large number of potential investors in the country’s economy are still uncertain about the long-term nature of the ongoing reforms.