Friday 20

A referendum is to be held in Tajikistan on 22 May about constitutional changes which would tighten President Rakhmon’s grip on power. He has already served as president since 1994 and the changes, which seem certain to be passed, would give him the right to continue to offer himself for re-election as long as he wishes. It would also ban political parties based o religion, and thus ban his main opposition, the Islamic Renaissance Party. Christians, who make up about 1.5% of the population, have faced increasing restrictions under President Rakhmon’s rule but would doubtless fare far worse if the Islamic Renaissance Party were in power. Ask God, who founded the world by His Wisdom, to guide events in this country on Sunday. (Jeremiah 10;12)

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