Short for TJ by Abbreviationfinder, Tajikistan is a presidential republic. According to the constitution, the country is a democracy in which the people elect president and MPs. In reality, President Emomalii Rahmon and his People’s Democratic Party have controlled Tajikistan since 1992.
The constitution entered into force in November 1994 after being approved in a referendum. Additions to the Constitution have been made in 1999, 2003 and 2016.
- Countryaah: Total population and chart of Tajikistan for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The president is the head of state and appoints the country’s government. She appoints a prime minister to lead government work. The President himself is the President of the Government and can dismiss both the Prime Minister and other ministers.
The president is elected in direct elections every seven years and since 2016 can be re-elected an unlimited number of times. Rahmon (whose name was previously spelled Emomalij Rachmonov) won 1994, 1999, 2006 and 2013 in elections that did not live up to the international standard for a functioning people’s government.
Parliament (majlisi oli) consists of two chambers whose members are appointed for five years at a time. In the second elected parliament, the Assembly of Representatives, there are 63 members, 22 of whom are appointed according to party lists and 41 in the personal elections in one-man constituencies. Of the 33 members of the First Chamber, the National Assembly, 25 are appointed by regional representatives and eight by the President. In addition, former presidents are entitled to a seat.
Tajikistan is administratively divided into four units adjacent to the capital Dushanbe: the two provinces of Sughd and Chatlon (in the northwest and southwest respectively), a region with “districts directly subordinate to the republic” located in the central parts and includes the Rajasthan Valley, and the autonomous province of Köhistoni Badachsjon (or Gorno-Badachsjan in Russian) in the far east. The provinces are divided into districts which in turn are divided into rural municipalities. Elections are also held at the local level every five years.
The clan and the region
The people of Tajikistan identify more with the clan and the region than with the central power, making it difficult for political leaders and parties to gather support throughout the country. There is an old power struggle between the clans in the province of Sughd in the north and those around the city of Kulob in the south.
In the Soviet era (1920–1991), the northern clans dominated party posts and other positions of power. They often had stronger ties to Uzbekistan than to the rest of Tajikistan; the capital of Chudzhand is considerably closer to the Uzbek capital Tashkent than Dushanbe and even further from Kulob. Dissatisfaction in the south over this imbalance became a factor in the civil war in 1992–1997 (see Modern History).
Nowadays, it is mainly in the former economically and politically favored province of Sughd that there is dissatisfaction that the region gets too few key posts. Strong regional identity and discontent with the central power also occur in the Rasht Valley in central Tajikistan as well as in the isolated Pamir Mountains to the east.
Both genealogy and regional networks are central to Tajik politics. President Rahmon is largely surrounded by relatives and people from his home neighborhood in Kulob.
Partisanship is weak alongside the strongly dominant People’s Democratic Party (Hizbi Chalkii Demokratii Todzhikiston), which is President Rahmon’s secular party. Many opposition people have been forced into exile or underground. Really opposition parties have a hard time operating at all in the country. Through a constitutional amendment 2016, religiously based parties were banned.
The most important opposition party has long been the relatively moderate Islamic renewal party (Hizbi Nahzati Islomii Todjikiston). It was the only authorized Islamist party and was prepared in the government as part of a peace settlement in 1997. Ahead of the presidential election in 2013 collaborated Islamic Renewal Party with the Social Democratic Party (Hizbi Sotsial-Demokratii Todzjikiston), which is also regarded as a genuine opposition party with support mainly among intellectuals.
In the 2015 elections, the Islamic renewal party was knocked out of parliament. The regime’s harsh condemnations of Islamist terrorism are believed to have frightened voters. In August of that year, the party was banned, formally on the grounds that it had too few members to comply with the rules of political parties. Shortly thereafter, the party was labeled a terrorist movement and most senior leaders were sentenced to long prison terms.
Several other smaller parties are largely loyal to President Rahmon. Among them are the Communist Party (Hizbi Kumunistii Todzhikistan), the Agrarian Party (Hizbi Agrarii Todzhikiston) and the Economic Reform Party (Hizbi Islohoti Iktisodii Tojikiston).
The Democratic Party (Hizbi Demokratii Todzhikiston) was considered to belong to the real opposition but has lost significance since leader Mahmadurzi Iskandarov in 2005 was sentenced to a long prison sentence for terrorism and corruption.
Islamist leaders are shot to death
Islamist leader and former minister Mirzo Zijoev is killed in a fire.
Mysterious death of ex-minister
Former Interior Minister Machmadnazar Salichov dies under unclear circumstances. According to authorities, he commits suicide by shooting himself. Eyewitnesses say he was shot dead by police, while others report that he was murdered by local militant groups. There are also reports that Salichov may have planned a coup against the government.
Worried valley is blocked off
The authorities are blocking the Rajasthan valley in central Tajikistan, a strong opposition stronghold. The official reason is the fight against drug trafficking – the valley is in a corridor between the borders with Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan. But according to independent observers, these are military efforts against armed militant groups with foreign members and Tajiks who have returned from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Warning for state collapse
The think tank International Crisis Group warns that Tajikistan risks becoming a so-called failed state with weakened state power. The economic crisis with food shortages, extensive electricity cuts and widespread unemployment continues.
US transporter via Tajikistan
The United States is given clearance to transport non-military equipment across Tajik territory, to Afghanistan.