Parliamentary elections in December once again highlighted the executive's firm grip on power and an overall lack of democratic change. On January 30, Karimov will turn 77, yet he is still standing as one of four candidates in the upcoming presidential election.
- Uzbekistan's relations with the West will not improve markedly because of lack of progress in democratisation and liberalisation.
- The security service will be a major force in the presidential succession and a potential power vacuum.
- A tighter domestic security clampdown is likely in the run-up to the March presidential election.