After gaining its independence in 1991, Uzbekistan was committed to building
a secular, openly democratic and law-governed country, with a socially-oriented
market economy state based on its own "Uzbek model" of progress. It was determined
that by maintaining and further strengthening its national identity along with a deep
commitment to universal values, Uzbekistan could develop in harmony with the world
The essence and substance of the model, which was elaborated upon and is being
put into practice today, are as follows: radically changing and renewing the state and
constitutional order; implementing political, economic and social reforms along with
the principle of removing ideology from the economy, along with its priority over
politics; giving the state a role of a major reformer, i.e., the functions of initiating and
coordinating reforms; ensuring the rule of law; providing the basis of a strong social
policy; and implementing these reforms on a step-by-step, gradual basis.
First of all, of special importance was the first stage of state-building, from
1991 to 2000. This was an era of immediate and essential reforms and transitional
changes, which contributed to the development of the national statehood.
Achieving a sustainable economic development while gradually reforming the
nation's political, legislative, judicial, social, and humanitarian endeavors - in tandem
with introducing a steady growth in living standards - was an important second step,
beginning in 2001 and extending to the present time. This was a robust period of
active democratic renewal, reform, and modernization of the country.
As a result of these reforms, Uzbekistan was able to overcome the negative
impact of the global financial crisis, and in a historically short period of time, to ensure
the stable and dynamic development of the national economy along with consistently
improving standards of living and welfare.
The referendum held on January 27, 2002 to establish the bicameral national
parliament provided a mandate for the further reformation of the state's legislative
power. The mandate confirmed that the electorate's major priorities were to create
a system of parliamentary "checks and balances" to improve the quality of legislation
while providing a balance between national and regional interests. The Senate,
Uzbekistan's upper house of Parliament, which primarily represents the local Councils,
would increasingly assert its regional representation while the Parliament's secondary
lower house, the Legislative chamber, would perform its professional responsibilities.
Amendments to electoral legislation were events of enormous importance.
These amended laws provide a foundation for holding multiparty elections for the
country’s legislature, as candidates for Speaker and members of the Legislative
Chamber are now nominated by political parties, while candidates for the local
Councils are chosen by local bodies of political parties. The previous practice of state
executive bodies nominating candidates has been eliminated, and this reform is a
major step toward the liberalization of political life in Uzbekistan.
The amendments to the law on the 2008 elections became an important stage in
developing the electoral system. By increasing the number of seats from 120 to 150,
of which 135 deputies are elected from political parties, 15 seats in the Legislative
Chamber are allocated to deputies of the new Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan.
The electoral legislation also stipulates that women make up at least 30 percent of
nominees from political parties for deputy seats.
The abolition of the position of the Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers,
which was initially occupied by the President, was an important step in the course
of liberalizing the country's political system. The Prime Minister was empowered
to lead the Government's day-to-day activities, bearing personal responsibility for
its efficiency, to chair Cabinet meetings, and to make decisions on the state and
With a view to continuing decentralizing power and liberalizing the political
system, President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov initiated the Concept of further
deepening democratic reforms and establishing civil society with stipulated major
amendments to the legislation.
Within this framework, some presidential powers were delegated to the
Parliament and the Prime Minister. In particular, for example, if the President is not
able to exercise his duties, authority shall be temporarily entrusted to the Chairman of
the Senate, with elections for the presidency to be held within three months.
These amendments have introduced a new procedure of nomination and
approval of the Prime Minister, thus enlarging the Parliament's oversight powers over
the Government. The Prime Minister shall be nominated by a majority political party in
the Legislative Chamber (Lower House), or by several political parties.
The "vote of no confidence" in the government has been instituted requiring at
least one-third of the members of the Legislative Chamber. For the first time in the
history of Uzbekistan, in July 2011, both houses of the parliament have held hearings
on the government's performance, with the report delivered by the Prime Minister.
In his address to the Parliament in November 2010, President Islam Karimov
called for the adoption of the Public Oversight Act to create an effective legal
mechanism to monitor implementation of legislative acts by government agencies.
In a move initiated by President Karimov, on December 5, 2011, the Senate also
approved changes to the Constitution that will shorten the presidential term from the
current seven years to five years. Thus, Uzbekistan has made a bold step towards
modernizing the political system.
At the present stage of our society's reformation, it has become essential to
create an efficient system of state and public governing, which would ensure the
irreversibility of democratic reforms. In this respect, the following priorities have been
established by the President of Uzbekistan:
Liberalization of all aspects of political life, including state and civil society
building. While carrying out this process, we will have to establish the appropriate
conditions for upgrading the political and economic activity of citizens, and how each
individual might manifest his or her capacity. Formation of the balance of interests in
society, and a strong mechanism of checks and balances, would guarantee sustainable
and progressive development of society and the freedom of choice for each person.
The multiparty system should enter our lives in real terms. Each political
party based on its social grassroots should develop a clear and precise program of
action that would determine the concrete objectives and guidelines, and alternative
options for public development. The true multiparty system means diversity of views
and ideas, and is the political space for parties to compete, in particular, with the
involvement of opposition parties.
To further enhance and develop nongovernmental organizations (NGOs),
public institutions, and citizens' self-governance associations designed to provide and
maintain the balance of interests in society, as well as to be complementary. They
should serve as a counterbalance to the government bodies. By way of support of
political consciousness, culture and civil activities, there should be a real transfer of
governmental functions to NGOs and citizens’ self-governing bodies, or makhalla (local
To ensure pluralism and diversity of opinions and freedom of expression. The
mass media ought to become a real "fourth branch of power" and the most efficient
tool in ensuring political rights and freedoms of citizens, i.e., freedom of expression,
access to information, and active public discussions about the pressing issues of state
and civil society building.
To further enhance human rights, freedom, and democratic values in
the people's minds. It is essential to create every condition for formation of free
individuals who are aware of their rights, rely on their own abilities, have independent
opinions on the developments around us, and harmoniously combine their personal
interests with the interests of the nation and its people. At the same time, it is
necessary to follow up with improving the system of governmental and public
institutions aimed at protecting human rights and freedoms.