Political Parties: Fight of ideas, standpoints, and convictions

With the election campaign, the most important stage of the election, now underway in our country, we, as voters, learn about the candidates’ programs and the parties’ goals, to understand what we prefer. As an electorate, we align our interests with program priorities and make our choices. We may say that the true ideological fight unravels not at the meetings or debates, but in our heads, as we analyze, weigh, and set out our preferences.

Political parties are vital components of the civil society. Their ambit of activity and participation in the policymaking help strengthen their political power and public influence.

Uniting politically active citizens into parties allows people to stand up for their social, economic, and cultural interests and helps them work out the best decisions for many groups of the population.

According to the Constitution, political parties express the political will of various social groups and take part in forming public administration through democratically elected representatives. In accordance with Uzbekistan’s legislation, political parties propose their candidates for Oliy Majlis, local Kengashes of People’s Deputies. Only political parties can put forward their Presidential candidates. In this context, the election becomes an important instrument in strengthening the party’s influence and goals.

All four parties have engaged in the presidential election, with them being Milliy Tiklanish Democratic Party (National Revival), Uzbekistan’s Liberal-Democratic Party, the People’s Democratic Party, and ‘Adolat’ Social-Democratic Party. Each party offers its own vision of resolving the most important state and public building issues.

Milliy Tiklanish represents creative intellectuals, artists, media representatives, patriotic youth, and craftsmen. UzLiDeP stands up for proprietors, businessmen, and farmers. PDPU consists primarily of people in need of social benefits, including pensioners and people with disability, and social workers. Adolat is a political vehicle for scientists, teachers, doctors, and social workers. The polarization and unity of opinions translates into the polarization and unity of the decisions made.

Apart from granting freedom of activities to parties, the Constitution and the legislation of Uzbekistan set out restrictions for parties and activities which aim to forcefully disrupt the constitutional order; oppose state sovereignty, integrity, and security; stand against people’s constitutional rights and freedoms; promote war, social, national, racial or religious hatred; encroaching on the people’s health and morality. The law also forbids the formation of military unions and political parties based on national or religious features. This legal framework helps ensure civilized discourse and decent interparty competition.

Studying and analyzing parties’ program documents helps voters connect with relevant ideas.

Prioritizing economic growth, Milliy Tiklanish stands up for support for local manufacturers, craftsmen and family entrepreneurship, in addition to tourism, which the party believes to be an effective tool in promoting national culture and history. UzLiDeP highlights wholesome support for entrepreneurship, small business, and farms. It promotes the reduction of the state’s role in the economy. The PDPU stands for supporting the current role of state in the economy, as it is believed to ensure interaction between market levers and state-defined social policy. It also supports economic benefits for the vulnerable strata of the society. Adolat goes for technologically-backed economic development, deemed to bear a huge long-term potential.

Social issues have seen political parties united in opinion, although each offers its own ways of resolving the problems. Milliy Tiklanish puts much emphasis on family support, spiritual and physical health of women, children, young generation, ideological security of the population. UzLiDeP stands for favorable conditions for self-realization of each person. PDPU champions strong social policy for low-income and socially vulnerable people. Adolat prioritizes opposition to social stratification by income, property, and access to social services.

In the context of society, Milliy Tiklanish supports traditional national democratic institutes which promote national revival and development and strengthen national unity whatever nationality, religion, social position or origins. UzLiDeP strives for consecutive democratization of public administration and for inviolability of private property. PDPU seeks to strengthen the state, protect pensioners, people with disabilities and other socially vulnerable people; it aims to increase the accountability of local self-governance bodies for realizing state resolutions in respect of low-income families. Adolat set a priority for a ‘common welfare state’, the principles of freedom, equality, social justice, solidarity, humanism, and elimination of discrimination.

Judicial and legal reform and gradual liberalization of administrative and criminal legislation have played a vital role in securing human rights and engendering trust to justice. A matter of interest for the voters, this issue informed the programs of political parties.

Milliy Tiklanish stands for integrating clemency, forgiveness, and tolerance into the judicial system. UzLiDeP aims to protect the rights and interests of proprietors, entrepreneurs, farmers, and businessmen, to develop alternative extrajudicial ways for dispute resolution. PDPU seeks to strengthen transparency and equality at court proceedings and ensure effective judicial and public control over law enforcement agencies.

The legal backbone for parties’ participation in policymaking helped raise their political influence. Political parties use their exclusive right to propose candidates to the Legislative Chamber so as to promote the party’s (and consequently the electorate’s) interests through laws and state programs. The candidacy of the Prime Minister of the country is proposed by the political party with a majority of seats in the Legislative Chamber, or several parties with an equal number of seats. Thus political parties form the executive and shape its activities, regularly hearing the reports of the head of government.

In March, 2015, UzLiDeP and Milliy Tiklanish, which were close in their standpoints and program settings for economy, politics, society, and the judicial and legal systems, united into a majority coalition, which gives them an advantage in promoting their goals through laws, state programs, and control activities.

PDPU and Adolat pronounced themselves opposition to the majority and decided to promote their ideas through their legal rights. Thus at the examination of draft laws and the State Budget, bоth sides have been heard and their opinions considered.

In the days leading up to the election, political parties not only propose their presidential candidate, but seek to raise support for their ideas and popularize their programs by expanding their electorate. The parties have been granted equal election opportunities for the candidates, which will undoubtedly help inform the voter’s choice.

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