Author: Christopher T. Mann
Tajikistan is a nominal democracy, but has been ruled by authoritarian President Emomali Rahmon since the initial phases of the 1990s civil war that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rahmon has been reelected several times, most recently in 2013 with 84.23% of the vote. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reported ?significant shortcomings? and noted a lack of pluralism in its final report on the 2013 presidential election and 2015 parliamentary election. The government?s actions toward the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) have in particular been a source of international criticism. In late 2015 following a gradual rise in government actions against the IRPT, the Supreme Court of Tajikistan banned the party and prohibited its media activities in the country. Tajikistan?s government has described these actions as efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism. The U.S. State Department, on the other hand, has characterized the government?s IRPT crackdown as ?steps to eliminate political opposition.?