DUSHANBE, November 16 (RIA Novosti) – Emomali Rakhmon was sworn in for a fourth term as Tajikistan’s president Saturday after winning a landslide victory in the last week's election, which has been criticized by international observers.
In his inaugural speech at the government's residence, Rakhmon, who was re-elected as president for another seven-year term, vowed to ensure the country’s energy independence and pledged to continue fight against poverty in the Central Asian state, where 47 percent of the population is classified as poor.
“The vector of our foreign policy will remain the same and Tajikistan will keep pursuing the open-door policy in the next seven years. We will be developing ties with friendly countries while implementing foreign policy that is not aimed against other countries,” Rakhmon said.
Rakhmon, a 61-year old former collective farm director, secured his term with 84 percent of the vote, while international observers said the election was marred by fraud and a total lack of genuine competition.
None of the other five candidates in the November 6 race, whose campaigns have been all but invisible, received more than five percent of the vote.
Rakhmon, who has been in power since 1992, did not run an election campaign, relying instead on extensive visits across the landlocked, largely Muslim country, during which he opened new schools and hospitals.
Coverage of the president in the tightly controlled state media is typically adulatory and has led political analysts to describe an emergent cult of personality.