12 April 2012, 15:35
Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan declares growing popularity in spite of government pressure
Dushanbe, April 12, Interfax - The largest opposition political party in Tajikistan, the Islamic Revival Party, grew by 1.1% to 41,000 members in the past three months alone, party deputy chairman Saidumar Khusaini told reporters on Thursday.
The party admitted 460 new members in January-March 2012, among them people younger than 30, he said.
"Despite pressure from the authorities, people keep coming to us and the number of our supporters grows day by day," said Khusaini, one of the two Islamic Revival Party deputies in the lower house of the Tajik parliament.
The People's Democratic Party of President Emomali Rahmon has the parliament majority. As of late January 2012 the party had 160,000 members.
"The best possible conditions were created for the ruling People's Democratic Party but it failed to give a normal life to the people: there is no electricity, some regions lack normal drinking water, people are not supplied with natural gas for years and labor migration is massive. So people pin their hopes on the Islamic Revival Party," Khusaini said to explain the growing popularity of his party.
Electricity limits in Tajikistan were imposed for the winter season for several years, and people in all regions but Dushanbe had only two to six hours of electricity supply per day. The number of labor migrants, most of them working in Russia, has long gone beyond one million.
"Thirty people left the Islamic Revival Party in March. There are only two reasons for that: either a man is offered benefits in exchange for quitting our party or he experiences pressure or intimidation," Khusaini said.
Party leader Mukhiddin Kabiri said in September 2011 that the party was trying to win over labor migrants working in Russia. The party wishes to drop the 'religious party' notion; it highlights political goals and the provision of rights of Muslims and people of other religions or atheists.
The Islamic Revival Party is the only legal Islamic party in the former Soviet Union. In the Civil War period (1992-1997) it was the locomotive force of the Tajik United Opposition that fought the Popular Front, which brought to power President Emomali Rahmon.
It remains the only opposition party, which has parliament seats in Tajikistan.
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