International election observers have said Tajikistan’s legislative elections were marred by “serious irregularities” including ballot stuffing. The vote had failed to meet democratic standards, monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and European parliament said in a statement on March 1. Observers “highlighted serious irregularities on election day, including a high prevalence of family and proxy voting and cases of ballot box stuffing,” the statement said. Pia Christmas-Moeller, the special coordinator of the observer mission, said: “I’m happy that Election Day took place in a generally good atmosphere, but I’m even more disappointed that these elections failed on many basic democratic standards.” The OSCE report also said state television news coverage of the campaign was minimal, limiting voters’ ability to make an informed choice. Tajikistan, Central Asia’s poorest country, voted on Feb. 28. (Al Jazeera)

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