DUSHANBE: Tajikistan on Friday called presidential elections for November, with President Emomali Rakhmon expected to run for another term in the impoverished ex-Soviet country that he has headed for more than two decades.
The country's lower and upper houses of parliament jointly decided to hold elections on November 6, two months before Rakhmon ends his current term.
Rakhmon has headed the country since 1992 and also leads the ruling People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan. In the spring he vowed to hold free and transparent elections.
Political analysts said Rakhmon was certain to stand for president again in the country of 8 million people, where around 40 percent live in poverty and around 1 million have gone to work in Russia, mostly doing low-paid manual labour.
Tajikistan has a total of eight political parties. On Friday, the head of the Islamic Revival Party, lawmaker Mukhiddin Kabiri, called for the polls to respect the constitutional norms.
"If we stand firm around the Constitution, around a leader chosen by the people in universal polls, then no force, no person can damage the country's unity," he told the parliament.
Tajikistan, which borders Afghanistan, is the poorest of the ex-Soviet countries. It was devastated by a five-year civil war that started in 1992 after the breakup of the Soviet Union and killed 150,000 people. (AFP)