- Title: Vote count begins in Uzbekistan presidential election
- Date: 4th December 2016
- Summary: TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN (DECEMBER 4, 2016) (REUTERS) **** WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY **** VARIOUS OF MOSQUE PEOPLE IN FRONT OF POLLING STATION UZBEKISTAN FLAG FLUTTERING WOMAN CASTING BALLOT ELECTION OFFICIALS WAITING VARIOUS OF OFFICIALS CARRYING BALLOT BOX FOR COUNTING VARIOUS OF OFFICIALS TURNING OVER BALLOT BOX VARIOUS OF OFFICIALS COUNTING VOTES
- Embargoed: 19th December 2016 17:19
- Keywords: Uzbekistan presidential election polls close polling station
- Location: TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN
- City: TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN
- Country: Uzbekistan
- Reuters ID: LVA0015BGXUFB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Polling stations closed late on Sunday (December 4) and counting of votes for the future president started in the capital of Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan's prime minister and interim president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, looks likely to win the election by a landslide and become the second leader of Central Asia's most populous nation since independence.
Yet the biggest challenge may still lie ahead for Mirziyoyev - establishing the same level of authority as his all-powerful predecessor, Islam Karimov, in whose shadow Mirziyoyev spent more than a decade.
Karimov, who ran the resource-rich former Soviet republic of 32 million people with an iron fist since 1989, died from a stroke in September, aged 78.
Mirziyoyev, cabinet head since 2003, swiftly emerged as Karimov's most likely successor after the speaker of the upper chamber Senate stepped aside for him. Under the constitution the speaker would normally assume the role of interim head of state.
Despite pledging continuity, Mirziyoyev has announced plans for economic reforms, including a liberalisation of the tightly controlled foreign exchange market, and has acted to ease strains in relations with neighbouring Central Asian countries.
Diplomats say he is also expected to move Uzbekistan closer to Russia, its Soviet-era overlord.
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