Emomali is Tajikistan’s head of state since 1994. In practice, he leads the country since 1992. Due to the collapse of the USSR, the uncertainty and social unrest degenerated into violence that culminated with a civil war in Tajikistan (’92-’97). More than 100.000 lost their lives in it. Since then, his grip on power has only strengthened, including though mimicked referenda.
In apotheosis and like Lukashenko, Emomali officially claimed 97% (1999), 79% (2006) and 84% (2013) of the presidential elections. No surprise he will claim today no less than 70% of the votes. Tajikistan is de jure a parliamentary republic, but de facto it is a kleptocratic conjunction that gravitates around the Leader of the Nation.
A 2015 law adopted by the parliament granted life-long immunity from prosecution to himself and his entire family (!), and conferred him the title „Founder of Peace and National Unity, Leader of the Nation”. In addition, the law allowed him to preside without a limit of terms and granted the president veto power over all major state decisions.
Similar to Lukashenko, Emomali has prepared the ground for his son to take over the power, by reducing the minimum age for presidential eligibility from 35 to 30 y.o. His son, Rustam Emomali, was appointed (!) to various senior government positions, currently being the Mayor of Dushanbe (since 29 y.o.) and the Chairman of the National Assembly of Tajikistan (elected by means of a secret vote), by cumulation. Constitutional provisions enable Rustam Emomali to replace the president (his father), in case of death or any inability to perform his duties. More than that, his daughter, Ozoda Rahmon, is a senator and chief of staff of the Presidency.
Unlike Lukashenko, Rahmon invited an OSCE mission to observe the presidential elections.
Although improbable, post-electoral tensions would add to the general turmoil that encompasses the region (i.e. Belarus, Nagorno-Karabakh, East Russia’s Khabarovsk, Kyrgyzstan).
Tajikistan is a predominantly Muslim country, Islam being the religion of ~98% of its total population of 9,5 mln. It borders Afghanistan and is the origin of hundreds Islamic State militants.