October 24.21: Scenes From Election Day

It’s Election Day in Uzbekistan and everybody seems pretty chill about it. The previous presidential election was held in 2016, following the death of President Islam Karimov who was a controversial figure and ruled the country under a tight fist for 26 years. Today representatives from five political parties are on the ballot even though it is widely understood that this is more of a formality – like a theatre performance – and the incumbent, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, will prevail by a landslide. As a new friend who grew up in Bukhara told us: “At least we know that guy…the others, we don’t really have any idea who they are.”

Although we pass by a few–very calm–polling places (and were were mistaken a couple of times for Legal Observers!), we spend most most of the day checking out the Jewish Cemetery, the wacky amusement park, a dude-dominated avian lane (birds for fightin’ and birds for singin’), and the big bazaar where a nice little pile of evil-eye deflecting herbs will set you back about a buck. That got my vote!

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