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MOSCOW – Polls have opened in Uzbekistan's first presidential election since the death of authoritarian leader Islam Karimov who ruled the country for 27 years.
Acting President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who spent 13 years as Karimov's prime minister, is expected to easily win a five-year term. Karimov led Uzbekistan since before the Soviet collapse, first as its communist boss and then as president.
Following Karimov's sudden death in September, Mirziyoyev shifted into the acting president's job quickly and without any visible tensions, highlighting apparent consensus between regional clans. Mirziyoyev faces three nominal rivals. Two of them challenged Karimov in past elections, each receiving about 3 percent of the vote.