by Shaxrizoda Mamasoliyeva
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October 27, 2021


Presidential elections, one of the most important political processes in Uzbekistan, will be held in the coming days. The international community has been paying close attention to this political process. According to Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to participate in the government of his/her country, directly or through freely elected representatives. The will of the people must be the basis of power. In line with these statements, to what extent does the electoral legislation of Uzbekistan meet international standards? This blogpost focuses on the legal analysis of the reforms in the electoral legislation in recent years, their compliance with international standards, and focuses on the legal analysis of the implementation of international electoral norms in the legal system. At the end of the blogpost there are a number of legal proposals will be given on how to improve the electoral legislation.

Legislation of Uzbekistan is based on international electoral standards

First of all, a number of existing normative acts on the election in Uzbekistan have been formed in the form of a single codification, and a new Electoral Code has been adopted. In particular, the preparation and conduct of elections in foreign countries are governed by the adoption of ordinary laws, constitutional laws or electoral codes. At the same time, more than 30 countries around the world have a model of legal regulation of elections through the Electoral Code. It should be noted that the normative documents on the electoral legislation consisted of five laws, all of which were combined. The government took into account the recommendations of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, foreign observers, missions of a number of international organizations such as the SCO, CIS, and OIC on the elections in Uzbekistan.

Secondly, in order to ensure equal voting rights, the new Electoral Code removed a provision restricting the participation of persons serving sentences in prison for less serious crimes. So, which international document was the cause behind cause for the implementation of this rule? Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to participate in public administration, either directly or through their representatives.[1] In spite of the fact that Uzbekistan ratified this declaration, the government previously had been experiencing failure to implement this declaration in the election system. Because participation of prisoners in elections is their political right. Naturally, in this case, it was considered as a restriction on citizens’ suffrage. The removal of the rule restricting the participation or non-participation of persons serving sentences in penitentiaries for less serious crimes does not pose a major public threat, indicating that international standards have been implemented in national legislation.

Thirdly, the fact that the election campaign starts in the morning after the last day for the registration of candidates, that is, the fact that the candidates start their election campaign at the same time, is clear proof of the principle of equal suffrage. Analyzing this norm on the basis of international law, according to the Declaration on the Criteria for Free and Fair Elections adopted by the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, each candidate and each political party participating in the elections has one voice to express their political views.

Fourth, the fact that the government guarantees the right of citizens to direct suffrage is in line with international standards. So, in terms of legal analysis, according to the current Electoral Code, citizens can elect deputies or the President by voting at the place of residence. It should be noted that a single electronic voter list has been compiled and the principle of “one voter – one vote” ensures the participation of our citizens in the elections, regardless of where they live. Also, according to Article 57 of the Electoral Code, a voter who is unable to be at his / her place of residence on the election day has the right to vote early.

What is the legal significance of electoral reform?

Changing election date:

One of the most important changes to the electoral legislation on February 8, 2021, was the moving of the presidential and local elections from December to October. So, why was the date of the election changed? Given that the implementation of the annual government plans begins at the beginning of the year, holding elections in late December could delay the inauguration of the newly elected President from the beginning of the fiscal year and the adoption of important strategic programs. It was a wise decision to hold the elections on a date that was acceptable to all.

Guarantee of the right to appeal

According to the Law on Political Parties, a refusal to register a political party can be appealed to the Supreme Court. That is, if the registration of a political party is denied by the Ministry of Justice, the right to appeal to the Supreme Court is guaranteed, which shows that the electoral law is in line with international standards. This is because, according to the Declaration on the Criteria for Free and Fair Elections, any person or political party whose candidacy, party, or voting rights have been denied or restricted has the authority to review such decisions and correct errors quickly and effectively. It shows that they have the right to appeal to a higher jurisdiction. On the other hand, The Ministry of Justice stated that it had reviewed twice and rejected the application for state registration of the SDPK “Haqiqat va Taraqqiyot”. So, why has the registration of this party been rejected? This has happened mainly because there were some shortcomings in their documentation related to their participation in the present elections. But, the political party has not applied to the Higher Court for the review with demands.

Providing gender equality

 The Electoral Code places special emphasis on gender equality, and the nomination of a female candidate in this year’s elections demonstrates that the government policy does not discriminate when it comes to the gender of a candidate. Maqsuda Vorisova a woman, is a candidate of the “Xalq Demokratik Partiyasi” is one of the candidates for this year’s presidential elections.  In addition, the Electoral Code stipulates that the female representation must be at 30 percent of the total number of candidates nominated by a political party, which directly indicates that gender equality has been guaranteed in this electoral law. Here arises a question: what do international standards say about female representation? The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women stipulates that all measures must be taken to eliminate discrimination against women.

Clear voting registration system

In addition, on the basis of the recommendations of the ODIHR election mission, a norm was issued to indicate on the ballot the personal data of the candidate, including his/her occupation and place of residence. Why was it necessary to remove this norm from the legislation? According to the Declaration on the Criteria for Free and Fair Elections, states must take the necessary legal measures to ensure the rights and institutional basis of free and fair elections under international law in accordance with the constitutional process. In particular, it should establish an effective, impartial, and non-discriminatory procedure and set clear criteria for voter registration. So, this also proves that the national legislation is based on international standards.

Extending the period to appeal

In order to prevent unjustified delays in the announcement of election results, the time limit for appealing election commission decisions has been changed from ten to five days, which will simplify election procedures for the timely determination and announcement of election results.

Suggestions for improving the electoral legislation:

Firstly, it is expedient to extend the period of re-application to the state body after the refusal to register a political party. According to the current legislation, authorized members of the governing body of a political party can register a party only if they bring the documents in full compliance with the Constitution and legislation of Uzbekistan within one month from the date of receipt of the notification of refusal. They have the right to re-apply to the Ministry of Justice with an application for registration, but a set month is a short time to address existing shortcomings. Secondly, the period of suspension of a political party should be reduced. According to the Law on Political Parties, if the violations are not remedied within the prescribed period, the Supreme Court may suspend a political party for up to six months upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Justice or the General Prosecutor.


As a result of the above legal analysis, it can be concluded that the reforms in the electoral legislation meet international standards, which shows that the current government is taking a new step towards democracy in the context of sustainable development. In addition, these reforms demonstrate the protection of human rights and freedom, guarantee of their legal protection, as well as the participation of citizens in creating the government’s long-term strategy for development. According to the above legal analysis, however, there are some challenges in terms of setting up deadlines in Law on Political parties and the government should take further steps in finding solutions.

Cite as:  Shaxrizoda Mamasoliyeva “Does the electoral legislation of Uzbekistan meet international standards? Analysis and proposals”, Uzbekistan Law Blog, 27.10.2021.