The current Uzbek president, Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev, born on July 24, 1957, is a prominent Uzbek politician currently serving as the President of Uzbekistan and the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Uzbekistan since December 14, 2016. His political journey began in the late 1980s with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, leading to his election as a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Uzbek SSR in 1990. Mirziyoyev’s career saw him as a governor in several regions before being appointed as the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan from 2003 to 2016.
Following the death of President Islam Karimov, Mirziyoyev assumed the role of acting president on September 8, 2016, and was later elected for a full term in the 2016 election, winning 88.6% of the vote. He was re-elected in 2021 with 80.3% of the vote and again in a snap 2023 election with 87.7% of the vote. His presidency is marked by liberal reforms in Uzbekistan’s political and economic system, including attracting foreign investment, improving relations with Central Asian neighbors, and releasing political prisoners. Notably, he closed the infamous Jaslyk Prison in 2019 and announced constitutional reforms, including abolishing capital punishment and protecting human rights.
Early Life and Career
The early life of Mirziyoyev, born July 24, 1957 in Jizzakh, reflected the Soviet-era heritage of the region. As a deputy on the Supreme Soviet of the Uzbek SSR, he graduated from the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Melioration. His rise through the ranks saw him serving as governor of Jizzakh and Samarqand regions before being appointed as Prime Minister in 2003.
Presidency and Reforms
Mirziyoyev’s presidency began following the death of President Islam Karimov in 2016. His election marked the start of a new era in Uzbekistan, characterized by significant reforms. These include attracting foreign investment, improving relations with neighboring Central Asian countries, and notable human rights improvements, such as the closure of the infamous Jaslyk Prison. His foreign policy has been more open compared to his predecessor, focusing on improving relations with countries like Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Mirziyoyev’s personal life includes his marriage to Ziroatkhon Hoshimova, with whom he has two daughters, a son, and five grandchildren. He has faced criticism for his luxurious lifestyle, including the construction of an exclusive mountain compound and a residence decorated with Argentinian marble slabs and Swarovski crystals.
His tenure as president has been a blend of continuity and change, maintaining some aspects of his predecessor’s policies while introducing significant reforms in both domestic and foreign policy. His leadership has been pivotal in shaping Uzbekistan’s current political and economic landscape.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s leadership has been transformative for Uzbekistan. His reforms have set the nation on a path of modernization and integration, both regionally and globally. His presidency reflects the changing dynamics of Uzbek politics and signifies a new era of hope and progress for its people.