This week, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev accepted the nomination to run as the Liberal Democratic party’s candidate in the Oct. 24 election, the current ruling party in Uzbekistan.
He referred to the nomination as “a huge responsibility I feel with my heart,” going on to say “today our state has opened up for the individual, for the people.”
President Mirziyoyev, who is 64, reflected on the immense legacy of change built over his previous term, anticipating what is to come.
Mirziyoyev originally came to power in December of 2016, following the death of Islam Karimov, the nation’s first president.
When he assumed the office, Mirziyoyev launched a thorough, effective, and sweeping campaign of reform, the results of which today are recognized by news media like The Economist, which proclaimed Uzbekistan the “Country of the Year” in 2019, and civil service organization from the United Nations to the International Labour Organization, and others.
Among other major successes, his leadership has been credited with rooting out systematic forced labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest, formerly the largest labor recruitment effort in the world. Prior to the human rights reforms instituted by Mirziyoyev, government workers and children were recruited to agricultural work under the harsh realities of forced labor.
Today, the cotton fields are places where workers receive payment for their hard work, with the International Labor Organization reporting this past year that “the systematic and systemic use of child labor and forced labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton industry has come to an end.”
But to only focus on change made in this area would be overlooking the whole swath reforms made across industries in the country, resulting in a nation finally open to both visitors and foreign investment.
Reuters recently reported “since assuming office, Mirziyoyev has launched an ambitious economic reform programme, opening up the nation of 34 million to foreign trade and investment, and eased restrictions on religious and media freedoms.”
Now, Mirziyoyev is turning to face the future and a prospective second Presidential term. In the coming weeks more of the President’s proposed agenda for his second term are being revealed. Look to the Journey of Change blog for continued coverage of environmental, social and governance issues as it looks to position itself for further progress into the next five years.