Uzbekistan holds presidential elections this Sunday.
More than 8,200 polling stations opened in the republic at 06:00 local time (03:00 Moscow time), and there are 43 stations in other countries, the Uzbek Central Election Commission press centre told Itar-Tass.
The election will be valid if more than 33 percent of the registered voters participate in the poll. There are 16.3 million voters in the country.
Ballots in the Uzbek, Kara-Kalpak and Russian languages are delivered to all the polling stations where transparent ballot boxes are placed. Police will ensure order at the stations. Everything is ready for the important political event, the press centre said.
The Central Election Commission has registered as presidential candidates current President Islam Karimov nominated by the Liberal Democratic Party, Asliddin Rustamov from the People's Democratic Party and Dilor Tashmukhamedov from the Social Democratic Party. An initiative group of citizens also nominated Akmal Saidov for the presidency. All the candidates actively participated in the election campaigns in all the regions, and free air time was provided equally for them on radio and television in evening broadcasts. The candidates and their representatives had a total of more than 500 meetings with voters, the election commission said.
President in Uzbekistan is elected for seven years. Since more than two candidates are on the list, a candidate who will gain more than half of votes will be the winner. If none wins, a runoff will be held for two leading candidates, and the winner will be the one who gains just a majority of votes.
The polling stations will close at 20:00 Tashkent time (17:00 Moscow time).
Only the Central Election Commission may report about vote results. The law bans exit polls, the press centre noted.
Briefings on the course of the vote will take place in the press centre at 10:00, 14:00 and 19:30 Moscow time on December 23.
The commission will announce preliminary results on December 24, at 15:00 Moscow time. Final results of the elections will be announced by January 3, 2008.
More than 23,300 observers, including over 300 from foreign countries and international organisations will monitor the vote. Among them are observers from the CIS and the OSCE.
During the meeting with Central Election Commission head Mirzo-Ulugbek Abdusalomov, the head of the group of CIS observers, Deputy Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee Vladimir Garkun said that the Uzbek law on presidential elections entirely conformed to the international standards and that all necessary conditions were created in the country for work of observers.
Russian Central Election Commission head Vladimir Churov will be present as a guest at the elections at the invitation of his Uzbek counterpart.