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Uzbekistan election exposes limits of image-polishing reforms

China's economic influence will inevitably become political, experts say

TASHKENT -- Uzbekistan has embarked on an ambitious reform agenda over the last three years, but as the country prepares to elect a new parliament on Sunday, meaningful political change remains elusive.

Since Shavkat Mirziyoyev became president in 2016 after the death of Islam Karimov, the isolationist strongman who ruled Uzbekistan for 25 years, the government has sought to clean up its international image, boost investment and kick-start the moribund economy.

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