World Bulletin / News Desk
Uzbekistan awaited Monday the results of a vote to elect a successor to late strongman Islam Karimov, with long-serving premier Shavkat Mirziyoyev seen scoring a comfortable victory against weak opponents.
Preliminary results are due to be released at 1100 GMT.
Mirziyoyev, who was appointed prime minister in 2003, became interim president following Karimov's death from a stroke in September at the age of 78.
Representing the same Liberal-Democratic Party that Karimov stood for in the last presidential vote in 2015, Mirziyoyev faced three other challengers in a bid to secure a five-year term.
But analysts noted that the other candidates were not critical of Mirziyoyev or of the authoritarian regime in the former Soviet republic which borders Afghanistan and where Beijing, Moscow, and Washington all vie for influence.
"The format for Uzbek elections has not changed since Karimov's death because the regime has not had time to think of anything different," said Kamoliddin Rabbimov, an Uzbek political analyst who lives in France.
"Uzbekistan has its own specific take on democracy. There will be no surprises here," he added.
Karimov's 27-year reign began in 1989 at the tail-end of the Soviet era and was often criticised for extreme abuses of human rights.
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