Uzbekistan’s Politicization and Democratization

Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

The Republic of Uzbekistan, land of light, human wisdom and custodian of ancient civilization has successfully surpassed all the hardships and achieved high standards of economic growth, social development, political participation and above all democratization process in the country. Its voyage journey has now reached to the shores of stability and sustainability and now skies is the limit.

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President H.E. Mr. Islam Karimov delivered a key-note speech on the eve of 23rd Anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Congratulated the nation for celebrating the national day with great happiness and delight the truly greatest, the dearest and unforgettable date in the glorious history of Uzbekistan.

The President said:

“Today as we celebrate the 23rd anniversary of our independence and assess the work we have carried out in building a democratic state and civil society and joining the ranks of the developed countries of the world”
He pinpointed wide range of socio-economic, political and democratic achievements in the past by saying:

“Indeed, we are profoundly proud that all our achievements in building the national statehood, the large-scale progressive reforms that resulted in stable growth rates of our economy, growth of living standards of our population and continuous improvement of the look of our country, are worthily recognized in the international arena and raise our authority and respect towards us”.

Islam Karimov explained that in the years of independent development national economy grew about 5 times or per capita3.7 times, and the income per capita, which serves as a confirmation of growth of living standards of our population, grew 8.7 times. These indices prove that during a short period of time Uzbekistan once a republic unable to sustain itself has turned into a modern state with rapid growth rates.

He proudly mentioned that despite the ongoing global financial and economic crisis, during the last 10 years the annual growth rate of Uzbekistan’s economy has exceeded 8 percent and such a stable progress can now be observed just in few countries.

“More than 180 billion dollars (including over 60 billion dollars of foreign investments) have been channeled to our economy to develop our country with such high growth rates, modernize it and implement the large-scale reforms he added.

Since its inception, Uzbekistan despite difficult external and internal circumstances Uzbekistan has established stable political and economic institutions and has maintained security for its people. It is blessed with natural resources, human resources and rich cultural heritage that should foster a new generation proud of its past, but ready to meet the challenges of the future.

Period Details

1991-2000 It successfully completed the transition period from an administrative-command system of governance to a democratic state with market economy. The first ten years of Independence (1991-2000) were dedicated to creating the very foundations of Uzbekistan’s statehood.

2001-2010 It marked the transition from a strong state to a strong civil society.

Right from the beginning, Uzbekistan has implemented meaningful reforms in order to build a democratic state with a socially oriented market economy and a strong civil society. Adopted 20 years ago on 8 December 1992, the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan was adopted on (December, 1992). It was established on five principles of the “Uzbek model” of development, elaborated by the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, which prioritizes economics over politics, state as the main reformer, rule of law, strong social policy, and gradual and evolutionary reforms.

“A human being, his/her life, freedom, honour, dignity and other inalienable rights were declared as the highest value became the solid legal foundation for achieving these goals”.

Establishment of Comprehensive Legal System

The adoption of the Constitution laid the foundation for creating a comprehensive legal system in Uzbekistan, and provided the means for the country’s Parliament to adopt 15 codes, over 600 laws, and ratify more than 200 multilateral international treaties.

The Concept of Further Deepening Democratic Reforms and Formation of Civil Society

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Political reforms have been a systematic and consistent character since its inception. Uzbekistan President developed ‘The Concept of Further Deepening Democratic Reforms and Formation of Civil Society’ (November, 2010), which represented a strategy of logical continuation of democratic reforms in the framework of the Constitution.

Law ‘On Introduction of Changes and Amendments to some Articles of the Constitution of Uzbekistan

The Law ‘On Introduction of Changes and Amendments to some Articles of the Constitution of Uzbekistan (Articles 78, 80, 93, 96 and 98)’ was adopted in March 2011. The Law aimed at further democratization of state power and management, ensuring a more balanced distribution of powers between three subjects of the state authority: the President (head of state), Legislative and Executive branches. A part of the President’s authority was transferred to the Senate, while the Prime Minister’s powers were strengthened.

Formation of Advanced Election System “From a Strong State to a Strong Civil Society”

The principle ‘From a Strong State to a Strong Civil Society,’ has instrumented to form an advanced election system in Uzbekistan. Regular multi-party elections clearly demonstrate the implementation of the citizens’ right to vote, as well as contributing to the growth of their social and political activity.

Liberalization of Legal System & Independence of Judiciary

Many radical reforms have been implemented to liberalise the legal system. The independence of the Judiciary and specialisation of courts were confirmed, the Institution of Appeal was reformed, the Appellate Procedure for reviewing cases and the Institution of Reconciliation were introduced, and the equality of all sides at all stages of the legal process was guaranteed. From 1 January 2008 the death penalty was abolished in Uzbekistan. The courts were also empowered to issue sanctions for arrest (institute of ‘Habeas Corpus’).

Human Rights

Based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a system of national institutions was created that promotes the rule of law, and the protection of personal, political, economic, social and cultural rights of citizens throughout the country. A system of continuous education on human rights and the improvement of the legal culture of the population were also established.

Vibrant Civil Society

Implementation of different reforms has further strengthened the role, scope, utility and participation of civil society. Today there are over 6,000 NGOs operating in Uzbekistan in various spheres of life. They enjoy significant state support in the form of subsidies, grants and social orders.

Development of Information Sector

Ours is the age of information and virtual realities. A comprehensive framework is being set-up for the gradual democratic reform of the information sector. It is designed to formalise citizens’ constitutional right to the freedom of thought, expression and belief. Integral to this process is ensuring the transparency of reforms, openness of authority bodies, and strengthening the independence and economic self-sufficiency of the mass media. In the past ten years the number of print media outlets in the country has increased 1.5 times – today there are over 1,200 in Uzbekistan, most of which are privately owned.

Respecting Languages, Customs and Traditions of all Nations and Nationalities Living in the Country

Upholding of diversity, interreligious harmony and preservation and strengthening of an environment of peace and stability is one of the main achievements of Uzbekistan. It is guaranteed directly the constitutional principle of ‘Respecting Languages, Customs and Traditions of all Nations and Nationalities Living in the Country.’ Today, over 130 nationalities live peacefully together in Uzbekistan.

Progressive Constitutional Model

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The Constitution of Uzbekistan embodies a new, progressive constitutional model. It creates all the necessary conditions for the evolutionary legal development of state and society, and their effective interaction in order to increase the efficiency of democratic reforms.

Conclusion

The process of politicization and democratization is on right path. It is hoped that it would pay its dividends in the days to come. Political stability is must for achieving high rates of socio-economic prosperity and through its rigorous politicization and democratization, Uzbekistan will definitely among the most advanced countries in the world.

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