Backgrounder: Tajikistan Lower House Elections

11:01, February 28, 2010      

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The Tajikistan Parliament is a bicameral parliament, the highest representative organ and legislative body of Tajikistan. The main functions of its Lower House include forming election and referendum committees, raising referendums over draft laws, approving development plans for the economy and society, as well as approving state loans and the president's orders.

There are 63 seats in the Lower House, each for a term of five years. According to its electoral law, Tajikistan is divided into 41 constituencies, from which the voters vote out one representative through direct ballot. The other 22 seats are distributed among eight parties, which participate in the elections.

Parties with approval ratings of more than 5 percent are qualified to form paliamentary groups, and the seats will be distributed by votes. The eight parties are the People's Democratic Party, the Islamic Rebirth Party, the Communist Party of Tajikistan, the Democratic Party, the Socialist Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Economic Reform Party and the Agrarian Party.

The Tajikistan Lower House elections are national elections. Every Tajikistan citizen over 18 years of age has the right to vote. On election day, citizens over 25 years old who have been living in Tajikistan for at least five years have the right to be voted for.

Since Tajikistan announced its independence in 1991, it has held three parliament elections -- in 1995, 2000 and 2005. On Dec. 15 of last year, Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmon signed an order to hold the fourth Lower House election on Feb. 28 this year. The People's Democratic Party, which is led by current president Rakhmon, won more than 80 percent of the seats in the 2005 Lower House Elections.

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