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Tajikistan Holds Constitutional Referendum Sunday


Voters in the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan are voting Sunday on a constitutional referendum that could allow President Emomali Rakhmonov to remain in office for another 17 years.

Among scores of constitutional changes on the ballot, one amendment would give Tajikistan's president the right to serve two seven-year terms of office instead of one.

The 50-year-old Mr. Rakhmonov has been president since 1994, but the amendment would not take into account his current term, ending in 2006. If voters approve, the president could run for re-election two more times and remain in office until 2020.

Opposition leaders in the impoverished Central Asian republic are strongly opposed to the constitutional change. They say it would allow President Rahmonov to remain in power virtually for life.