Tajik President Makes Son Capital’s Mayor

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DUSHANBE -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has appointed his 29-year-old son Rustam Emomali as mayor of the Central Asian country's capital, Dushanbe.

Rahmon's press service said on January 12 that Rustam Emomali replaced Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloev, who was mayor for 19 years.

All Ubaidulloev's deputies and the chiefs of Dushanbe's districts were also dismissed, the press service said.

Ubaidulloev, 64, remains chairman of the parliament's upper chamber, the Majlisi Milli. He is considered Tajikistan's No. 2 leader after the president.

Rustam Emomali had headed a state financial oversight and anticorruption agency.

His new appointment comes weeks after Rahmon's third daughter, Ruhshona Rahmonova, became head of the Foreign Ministry's International Relations Department.

In January 2016, Rahmon made another daughter, Ozoda Rahmon, his chief of staff. She had been a deputy foreign minister.

Several other close relatives of Rahmon occupy important official positions or control lucrative businesses.

Rahmon, who has nine children, has ruled the poor, predominantly Muslim former Soviet republic since 1992.

Rights groups and opponents say he tolerates little dissent and suppresses his critics.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.