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    Uzbek leader gets 88% of votes at presidential polls

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    According to preliminary results posted by Uzbekistan's Central Election Commission on Monday, incumbent leader Islam Karimov received 88.1% of votes in Sunday's presidential polls.

    TASHKENT, December 24 (RIA Novosti) - According to preliminary results posted by Uzbekistan's Central Election Commission on Monday, incumbent leader Islam Karimov received 88.1% of votes in Sunday's presidential polls.

    Voter turnout was 90.6%, with 13 million voters casting their ballot.

    The second and third placed candidates received a mere 3.17% and 2.94% of the vote.

    The Central Election Commission head said no complaints had been lodged or violations observed.

    Groups of monitors from the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) have described the elections as free, open and transparent.

    "The CIS group of monitors believes the Uzbek presidential polls correspond to the national election law and recognized standards for holding democratic elections," said Sergei Lebedev, the group's head.

    The official said that the Uzbek presidential poll indicated a further democratization of the country's social life, and stability in the socio-economic sphere.

    However, monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) criticized the Uzbek polls as being below democratic standards.

    "The 23 December 2007 presidential election in Uzbekistan was held in a strictly controlled political environment, leaving no room for real opposition, and the election generally failed to meet many OSCE commitments for democratic elections," the Reuters news agency quoted the organization as saying in a statement.

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