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Tajik parliament discusses unlimited terms for President Rahmon

Tajikistan’s parliament is discussing a proposal to allow incumbent President Emomali Rahmon to run for an unlimited number of terms.

The legislature has received a package of amendments to the constitution from the government, a spokesman for the parliament said on Thursday.

If ratified, the amendments will ultimately need to be approved in a referendum.

The amendments have not been published officially, but they reportedly include a provision that lifts the limit of two successive presidential terms for Rahmon.

In allowing Rahmon, the provision cites his special status as the “Leader of the Nation”, a title given to him by the parliament last month.

Another suggested change would reduce the minimum age for presidential nominees to 30 from 35.

Rahmon’s elder son, Rustam Emomali, is 28 and will be 33 at the end of his father’s current term in 2020.

Rahmon, 63, has gradually consolidated his power during 23 years of rule over the nation of eight million that experienced a 1992-97 internal conflict. It claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people.

Helped by constitutional changes and a referendum, Rahmon has been able to successfully run for president four times, most recently in 2013, when he was re-elected for a seven-year term. However, under the current constitution, he is not allowed to run for another term.

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