The Social-Democratic Party of Tajikistan (SDPT), which is the only officially registered opposition party in Tajikistan, has declined to nominate its candidate for president and it will boycott the upcoming presidential election in the country.  Such a decision was taken at a meeting of the SDPT Political Council that took place in Dushanbe on August 31. 

SDPT leader Rahmatillo Zoyirov told Asia-Plus in an interview that he calls on all member of his party to observe the party discipline and to boycott the upcoming presidential election.  

He justified this decision by saying that it is impossible to collect 250,000 signatures within the time frame determined by the Central Commission for Elections and Referenda (CCER).  

“Besides, the incumbent president does not have the right to be leader of political party.  The fact that the president leads the People’s Democratic Party of Tajikistan has actually negated the multi-party system in Tajikistan and turned it into “the one-party republic,” Zoyirov said. 

He called the law on the central election commission in new edition, which was adopted in 2019, as the third reason for boycotting the upcoming presidential election.  

“In connection with this law, representatives of political parties and movements do not have the right to participate in the work of the CCER and local electoral commissions and their compositions are formed from representatives of the executive power bodies.  Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of representatives of the executive power bodies are members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party,” SDPT leader noted.  

Recall, Tajikistan's parliament has set October 11 as the date for the country's next presidential election.  The resolution on the election date was approved on August 6 during a joint session of both chamber of parliament.

The League of Youth of Tajikistan and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Tajikistan have nominated the incumbent President Emomali Rahmon as their candidate for president.

The other candidates in the election currently comprise Rustam Latifzoda from the Agrarian Party, Abduhalim Ghafforov from the Socialist Party, Saidjaffar Usmonzoda of the Democratic Party of Tajikistan, and Rustam Rahmatzoda from the Party of Economic Reforms.    

Founded in 2002, the Social-Democratic Party was registered on December 20, 2002.  It was originally registered as the Party of Justice and Development on February 5, 1999.  Tajikistan’s Ministry of Justice requested the same year that the Supreme Court ban the party’s activities and its registration was canceled.  The party re-emerged and was registered under the name of the Social-Democratic Party in late 2002.  Chairman of the Social-Democratic Party is Rahmatillo Zoyirov and the party reportedly has about 8,000 members.