2015 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE POLITICAL PLATFORM
Islam Karimov has been ruling Uzbekistan – forcibly, single-handedly and in violation of the constitution and rule of law – for the last 25 years. During his reign the country has not had any substantial political and economic reforms. Being essentially a product of the Soviet Communist Party, Karimov remains faithful to its ideals and system of governance. He has lied to and misled his people and implemented repressive and violent policies. As a result the Uzbek people have seen tremendous setbacks in every sphere of life and the country has been plunged into the dark ages.
We, unlike dictator Karimov, will restore fairness and rule of law in every sphere of life in the country. We will establish democratic ideals as well as freedom of press, speech and religion. We will restore rule of law and make sure that every citizen’s constitutional rights are respected.
MAIN GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
- TRANSITION FROM A SINGLE RULE PRESIDENTIAL SYTEM TO A PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM OF GOVERNANCE;
- THE COUNCIL OF NATIONAL SECURITY (SNB) WILL NO LONGER BE OVERSEEN AND CONTROLLED BY THE PRESIDENT BUT RATHER BY THE PARLIAMENT;
- RELATIONS WITH NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES WILL BE ESTABLISHED ONLY THROUGH NEGOTIATIONS AND MEETINGS;
- RIGHT TO USE LAND WILL BE EQUITABLE FOR ALL CITIZENS AND LAND RIGHTS WILL BE GIVEN FOR LIFE;
- THE NATIONAL CURRENCY WILL BE DISCONTINUED AND REPLACED WITH A NEW CURRENCY;
- RELIGIOUS AND CIVIC OPPOSITION LEADERS CURRENTLYB LIVING IN EXILE WILL BE ABLE TO RETURN TO THEIR HOMELAND;
- THE COUNTRY OF UZBEKISTAN WILL PROTECT EVERY UZBEK CITIZEN, NO MATTER WHERE HE OR SHE MIGHT PHYSICALLY BE LOCATED.
We will establish a parliamentary system of governance in Uzbekistan.
We will restore fairness in Uzbekistan. We will restore constitutional order and rule of law. We will change the system of governance from a presidential system into a parliamentary system. District, city and regional hokims (administrators) will be elected by popular elections.
We will reform the Ministry of Internal Affairs completely. “Militia” will be renamed as “police”. We will pass a law regulating the country’s police force.
All criminal cases against the citizens who are currently serving time on religious and political charges will be reexamined. Charges will be annulled and individuals will be freed and paid restitutions. Ministry of Internal Affairs employees found to be connected to torture practices, unlawful imprisonment or responsible for the deaths of citizens will be criminally indicted in accordance with the law.
The Council on National Security (a.k.a. secret service known under the acronym SNB) will no longer be under the president’s control.
The SNB oversight that is currently concentrated solely in the president’s hand will become the responsibility of the parliament. We will pass a law about SNB to make sure that the agency’s activities are lawful and confined to the framework of the law. SNB employees found to be connected to torture practices, unlawful imprisonment or responsible for the deaths of citizens will be criminally indicted in accordance with the law.
Informants currently working with SNB and Internal Affairs will be made known to the public. Secret archives will be opened and made available to the public. Lists of recruited conspirators and their activities will be published in the media. This particularly concerns the employees of courts and prosecutors’ offices.
Preparations will be made for the return of Uzbeks from exile and for them to be able to get into politics.
Legislative framework will be developed for opposition leaders — who have been forced to live in exile due to Karimov’s repressions — to return. Fabricated criminal cases against them as well as their statuses as wanted criminals will be annulled. Conditions will be created to enable their full and active participation in social and political life of Uzbekistan.
It is necessary to pay particular attention to the situation in which religious groups and societies find themselves in the country today. Instead of dialogue and civic engagement – which could lead to the legitimization of activities within the framework of the law – Karimov’s regime has chosen the path of repressions and constant pressure. Those Uzbeks who receive religious education are stripped of their right to vote — and this religious repression in a country that is 95 % Muslim.
When we come to power, the constitutional rights of all citizens of faith will be restored. They will be given the right to vote. The social and political engagement of these groups will be defined and guaranteed within a legal framework. They will be able to take up positions in government as well as found religious organizations and political parties to compete in elections alongside secular parties. Those organizations and parties that get elected to power will then be 100 percent legitimate and receive acceptance from all citizens in the country.
The rights of labor migrants will be overseen and protected by the Uzbek state.
According to some estimates, about 8-10 million Uzbek citizens have left the country in search of employment opportunities (there are 2.2 million Uzbeks living in Russia alone). These individuals comprise a large part of working age population of Uzbekistan. In addition, financial remittances of their income sent back home amounted to 5-7 billion USD last year, which is 10 % of the country’s GDP.
When we come to power, we will give protection and assume responsibility for all Uzbek citizens no matter where in the world they live. We will open the doors of all Uzbek consulates worldwide and create conditions for efficient and effective assistance to citizens in all legal matters. Passport renewals and replacements of lost or stolen documents will be performed directly at the consulates.
Military service will become contractual and professional.
Professional positions within the military will be made entirely on a contractual basis. Using militaries of developed countries as an example, we will dismantle and reorganize the existing military based on the National Guard principle. Military professionals will receive better salaries and have a chance at upward mobility in society.
All Uzbek males between 20-26 years of age will be required to spend two months a year on mandatory military training for six years (a total of one year). Thusly the military readiness and mobilization capabilities needed to protect the Homeland will continually increase.
The underlying aim of the abovementioned political reforms is to get Uzbekistan out of its current political, economic, social, scientific, technological and cultural crisis. After the abovementioned changes are implemented, our country will experience rapid growth and positive development.
Having usurped the power, Islam Karimov’s shortsighted policies, his disregard for the neighboring countries and his constant vacillation between either disdain for or extreme ambition in his foreign dealings has led the country to a complete political and economic collapse. Instead of improving relations with the country’s neighbors, all the borders have been sealed shut with strictly enforced visa requirements and borders fortified with minefields.
Today’s Uzbekistan is one of the most closed off countries in the world. From the point of view of political geography Uzbekistan consists of 33 ethnic enclaves. That is precisely why it would be to its advantage to open its borders and strengthen an integration processes with all its neighbors. Unfortunately, the country’s foreign affairs are in shambles today.
When we come to power our foremost priority will be to integrate with the neighboring countries, improving and strengthening political and economic ties.
We will seek solutions to regional problems without external help or involvement.
We will open the state borders to our neighbors and establish mutually beneficial relations with them in every sphere of life. We will financially support the construction of Rogunskaya and Kambar-Atinskaya hydroelectric power plants and use the generated resources for the benefit of the country and not just for a handful of people. We will establish mutually beneficial ties with the new government in Afghanistan.
The existing alphabet based on Latin letters will be reformed and a new alphabet based on the common Turk languages alphabet will be adopted.
We will improve political and economic ties with the world community thusly pursuing a multipronged foreign policy agenda. We will make sure that all previously ratified and signed treaties and conventions are enforced thusly fulfilling the country’s international obligations.
We will pursue multipronged policies with all nation-states — especially our neighbors — based on mutual benefit and partnership-of-equals principles.
Having been educated in and shaped by the Soviet ideology of a planned economy, dictator Karimov has been pursuing this type of economic course during his 25-year reign of Uzbekistan. His ignorance of the free market economy has caused irreparable damage to the country. In the waning months of the Soviet Empire, the Baltic States started buying up metallurgical productions in order to dump the Soviet currency, whereas our shortsighted dictator took a long time to replace the old system’s currency with the new one. The currently used Sum was preceded by the so-called Sum-coupons system that plunged the people of the newly independent Uzbekistan into extremely difficult economic position. Many became instantly impoverished.
Karimov’s government introduced the Sum as the national currency very late, in 1994. Furthermore, if upon its introduction the exchange rate between the Sum and the USD was 1:6, today this number is astronomically high: more than 4000 Sums for 1 USD. To top it off, there is no free exchange of Sums into any other currencies.
There is no significant trade taking place on commodity exchange markets. When trade does take place, operation rates are laughably small. There is still no open conversion.
Tax and customs rates are extremely high.
The systems of electricity, gas and water supply as well as sewage are increasing becoming problematic. The same is true for transportation infrastructure, as well as the supply of natural resources to the industrial sector.
Corruption has reached exuberant heights.
More than 70 % of the population is unemployed. Some resort to working in other countries, where they face a lot of difficulties. Most of the industry inherited from the Soviet Union is in shambles. Cotton and grain are still being grown and picked by forced labor. The overall economic standing of the people has deteriorated dramatically.
The former middle class of the Soviet Union is either poor or downright impoverished today.
The country has not managed to properly transition to a market economy.
With the aim of universal well-being and social security we will build a nation of forward-looking entrepreneurs focused on the economic development of their Homeland. That will replace the existing system installed by Karimov’s regime, which is based on lawlessness, corruption, violence and deceit. Only a private owner can be independent. Only a conscious and self-determining citizen aware of his/her life principles and positions can raise a stable family unit. We can see examples of that in developed countries like the United States, Canada, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea and Turkey.
This, of course, does not mean that everybody will become unbelievably rich instantly. However, every blue-collar worker, rural dweller, farmer and employee will be able to own property and a car and be in charge of his/her own professional and personal growth and finances. The government will support the system of private ownership. As a result of these reforms, we will transform the country currently known in the international community for its vulnerable and unprotected migrant workers into a country whose people are valued for their education and skills, a country of people who are socially and legally protected by their Homeland, who are in charge of their own destinies and who are high-earners, inside and outside the country.
Lifelong land ownership
We will introduce a new national currency called Turan and discontinue the use of Sum. We will create all necessary economic conditions for the legal exchange of national currency into other countries’ currencies.
The land will be distributed equitably and equally among all Uzbek citizens through the system of government bonds. Lifelong land ownership will allow land owners full rights over the use of their land. The current system of obligatory cultivation and cotton, wheat, and silkworm production quotas mandated by the government will be abolished. Tax and customs rates will be dramatically lower and simplified.
Government interference in the economy will be minimal.
We will begin and bring to completion the new Great Silk Road project.
We will restore the disappearing Aral Sea and improve the environmental situation of its coastal region. We will create waterways between the Aral Sea and international bodies of water, e.g., Caspian Sea and rivers of Siberia, which can be used for ship travel and transportation.
It is important to strengthen economic ties with the international community. We will create all necessary business and legal conditions for foreign investors and equity owners. We will allow multiple citizenships. We will free investment from burdensome limitations and restrictions.
We will construct new modern highways.
We will reform the system of production and distribution of electricity.
As a result of these reforms the country will put an end to its poverty. Today’s enterprises that have not yet been privatized will be privatized. Every citizen and every family will be a private owner with a right to his/her own land, wealth and equity. The class of responsible owners will drastically increase in the country.
While practically any material damages can be eventually repaired, reclaiming the lost immaterial, cultural and moral values is much more difficult. Unfortunately dictator Karimov has turned his highly educated, skilled and cultured people into spiritual and intellectual paupers. The extreme regression of the education system has set the country back by many decades. Today’s education system is completely out of order. Most school and university graduates possess only superficial knowledge and many lack even a most basic understanding. I consider the fact that school and university students are still being forced to pick cotton today to be a betrayal to the nation.
We propose that approximately half of the government budget be spent on the education system.
Children older than one year will have access to kindergartens where they can stay until they being school. The government will pay for kindergarten education and medical care. Children who do not have medical insurance through their parents will be insured by the government until 18 years of age.
Monthly and yearly fee collections for school repairs and other purposes will be discontinued.
School children will study academic programs that are compatible with modern education requirements. They will study in new or newly-renovated and well-equipped buildings. The school day will be from 7 in the morning until 5 in the evening. Schools will provide hot meals twice a day as well as free transportation. Younger children will have a two-hour rest period. The education will be entirely free and school uniforms will be provided by the government. Upward mobility opportunities will be created for teachers so that they too will be able to become property owners. Their salaries will be increased. Schools and all other education institutions will be completely freed from having to participate in agricultural works.
Studies will take place five days a week. Kindergartens, elementary, junior and high schools will all be switched to a 5-day week.
In order to compete in today’s globalized world it is essential that children are taught fundamentals from early on. It is important for children to know two or more foreign languages as well as to have an understanding of the economy, business and finance. We have to make clear to the young generation that financial resources are an important mechanism in every society. They should be well-informed about finances but should not become slaves to money.
We will partially reform the current five-grade system of assessing educational achievement. Every child entering school will have a savings account opened under their name with 10 USD deposited in it. The funds will accumulate while students remain in school. Upon graduation they will have access and full control of the money. Academic performance will be assessed by a five-grade system converted into financial rewards. In the end of each quarter the acquired knowledge will be tested and bonuses given for outstanding knowledge retention. A student stands to receive 50-100 USD for every school year.
These funds will be allocated by the government from the general education budget. Older students will be given job opportunities at school or in the neighborhood of about 2-4 hours of work a day. In this manner students will be able to acquire professional skills necessary for their future lives. The earned income will also be deposited into the savings accounts.
First-hand experience in various jobs will give students a chance to determine their future professions. Special attention will be paid to this professional aspect of their overall education. Graduates will be allowed and encouraged to invest their school money into international and national stock markets. The goal pursued here is to teach young people financial independence, regardless of the chosen profession, and for them to understand the basics of business and the economy.
Only when we reach critical mass in these indicators can we say that we have been successful in reforming the education sector of Uzbekistan.
All the necessary conditions for learning foreign languages, especially English, will be created for students. They will have a chance to attend foreign exchange programs in developed countries and the United States. Upon graduation students will be able to speak two foreign languages well.
Most universities will be privatized and their professors and staff will be incentivized to raise the admission standards of their institutions instead of accepting students based on the amount of an offered bribe. The influx of well-educated and capable young people with savings accounts should further increase competition for excellence between universities.
Without a doubt the university graduation rates will have a positive effect not only on the reputation of those institutions but will lead to the increases in professors’ salaries.
These reforms will create an education system focused on raising multi-faceted, capable and spiritually developed young people. Teaching business and economic basics in school will increase private ownership in our country.
It is precisely these well-educated young people with deep knowledge about their chosen subjects who will serve as the cornerstone for the future development of Uzbekistan. In the meantime, education employees will stand to be well-compensated and they too will have a chance at upward mobility in our society.
The Uzbek people consider today’s healthcare system to be the most broken and dysfunctional sector among all aspects of life in Uzbekistan. You might recall that in the end of the 1980’s Uzbekistan enjoyed a professional healthcare system of high quality. After the 25-year reign by Islam Karimov today’s healthcare is in shambles. Experienced specialists have left the Homeland, many for good, and some of these highly-qualified specialists were actually forced to retrain in other professions in order to make a living abroad. The government has not paid adequate attention to this sector. The privatization of this sector has not been completed and the privatized institutions have not been given enough independence to grow.
Omnipresent bribery and under-qualified staff have reached alarming proportions.
The healthcare system is in dire need of a complete overhaul. There is often no electricity and gas heating in clinics and hospitals, buildings are in disrepair and lack sufficient medical equipment and medicine, and staff are often forced to seek employment in other sectors due to extremely low salaries.
We will privatize the healthcare system.
We are in support of privatization of the country’s healthcare. The government will oversee and support the privatization process. The Ministry of Health and its regional and local agencies will organize preventive checkups and health drives all over the country, will improve medical assistance and access in general, and will train highly-qualified medical personnel.
Health providers that remain public today will all be privatized together with their buildings, institutes, education facilities and hospitals. During the privatization process all facilities will be completely remodeled and equipped with modern medical equipment.
The Ministry of Health will choose new owners for health providing institutions based on democratic principles, with head doctors, deputies, medical personnel, nurses, doctors, administrators and local residents being invited to participate.
Private owners of each health providing institute will be elected with at least five candidates participating in popular elections. In order to make sure the elections are fair and independent, they need to be covered in the national and local press. A newly-privatized health providing organization will then be issued a line of credit, which will need to be paid back to the government in ten years. During this period the entity will be under full oversight of the Ministry of Health.
After the elections the newly privatized entity will be transferred to its new owner. The Ministry of Health will allocate a financial controller who will support the privatization process for ten years, making sure the government payments are paid and providing other financial oversight.
Health providers will start charging for their services. A health insurance system will be implemented in the country. Those who cannot afford to pay for their own medical insurance will be provided with a medical insurance by the government.
After these reforms are implemented, medical specialists currently working abroad will return. Once medical education institutions are privatized, there will not be any more bribe-taking and medical universities will train highly-qualified specialists.
The people of Uzbekistan will have access to quality medical care. Medical care and social protection for women, young children, the elderly, and disabled and unemployed individuals will be guaranteed by the government.
In order to destroy a nation, it is sufficient to destroy its history, language, culture and spirituality. Unfortunately during Karimov’s reign our culture has deteriorated to a sorry state of affairs. We consider the government’s total control of this sector, draconian cutbacks and closures of agencies to be a fatal error.
Traditionally, Uzbekistan was engaged in creating knowledge centers, developing its culture and society, and illuminating and making discoveries in natural sciences, medicine and space exploration. Uzbek literature praised the value of an individual and underscored the paramount importance of fairness. Priceless treatises and legends were composed and make up a significant part of the world’s heritage. Even during the years of the totalitarian Soviet regime our people worked tirelessly in industrial and agricultural sectors as well as in technology, science, healthcare and culture. The Uzbek people did not lose their identity and were among one of the most advanced republics in the Soviet Union.
We will allocate a part of the government budget to all the cultural institutions that have lost their public funding or have been shut down by the existing regime.
The reforms in the cultural sector will give us opportunities to bring back spiritually developed, fearless, courageous, honest individuals that once populated our country in the past.
In my opinion, our country’s social standing is one of the worst in the world. It is particularly depressing that the social security safety net is practically non-existent. For instance, single mothers receive miniscule subsidies from the government. Today, most of the social development indicators place our county in the company of the poorest African countries.
The result of the illegitimate, lawless and criminal regime of Islam Karimov is extremely high unemployment and a lack of financial assistance for the unemployed; a broken public healthcare system and exuberantly priced private healthcare; a lack of social protection for children; and the drastically deteriorating social fabric of the society. Furthermore the regime has an utter disregard for the constitution and the rule of law.
We will focus on providing adequate social protection for single mothers and will assist them in securing well-paid employment. Additionally, individuals with disabilities will be assisted in obtaining adequate and well-compensated employment.
We will implement reforms to raise the general financial and material well-being of our people and restructure the social security system. Our reasonable and fair policies will help our people lift themselves out of poverty through hard and honest work. We will do everything possible for everyone to have a chance to join the class of owners.
After we assume our responsibilities of governing the country, we will implement reforms that will significantly increase the standard of living in Uzbekistan. State subsidies for poor people will be increased. People will be able to attend vocational schools where they can have a chance to acquire knowledge about the economy and business. Upon completion they will be given access to subsidized credit to start their own businesses. They will have access to business consultants and will receive help with business plan development. Individuals with disabilities will be assisted in getting appropriate employment. The social fabric of the society will be strengthened; different classes of our society will have equal rights; and the country will enjoy stability as a result.
SOUND OWNERSHIP SYSTEM IN UZBEKSITAN IS OUR MAIN GOAL!
I have briefly outlined our plans for reforms in this presidential political platform. Without a doubt you have questions for me. I invite you to ask them. I invite you to meet with me. I invite you to participate in our debates and follow our work. We are ready to serve you and hope to earn your trust in us!
“Dear compatriots, entrepreneurs and tradesmen, rural-dwellers and farmers, unemployed and employed, public sector employees and members of government!
Esteemed Fathers and Mothers, Brothers and Sisters, Family and Friends!
And our country’s future: our youth!
Destroy the lies, fear and indifference! Remember your civic responsibility! The unity of a people is based on Solidarity; please stand in solidarity with us!”
Compatriots, who are forced to work abroad, please support us!
Our overarching goal is for the Uzbek people to be free and successful and to live well. Political prisoners – fighters for human rights and for fairness, people suffering for their religious convictions and private entrepreneurs – will be freed immediately.
With my own money I intend to open a library equipped with 100 new computers. Let our country be not among the poorest dozen countries but among the most successful!
Our idea is to build a solid CLASS OF OWNERS in Uzbekistan!
Our goal is to increase the well-being of our people as we are building the class of owners.
Candidate for President of Uzbekistan