DUSHANBE, March 4, 2010, Asia-Plus  -- Withdrawal from the Public Council of Tajikistan will harm image of political parties that have decided to do so, Suhrob Sharipov, director of the Center for Strategic Studies under the President of Tajikistan, announced at a news conference in Dushanbe today.

According to him, political parties that decided to withdraw from the Public Council have taken ill-considered step.

“The council provides platform for international organizations, political parties and government bodies to share their ideas on how to improve life of each of citizens of Tajikistan,” said Sharipov, “Political parties have offered the president their development programs through the council.  I think it is rash decision to refuse such a tribune.  Now these parties will have limited opportunities to bring their ideas on improvement of life in the country to the government.”

We will recall that that the Islamic Revival Party (IRPT) yesterday announced its decision to withdraw from the Public Council as a token of protest against the official results of the February 28 parliamentary elections.  Partial results give IRPT 7.7 percent of the vote and the party has vowed to challenge the result in court.  The Democratic Party (DPT) has also decided to quit the Public Council.  

The Public Council of Tajikistan was established in April 1996 on the basis of the Public Accord Agreement signed first on March 9, 1996 for the period of three years by pro-government political parties and NGOs in a show of support for the peace process.  It was prolonged for further three years in 1999.

The Public Council now comprises representatives of state bodies, political parties, religious organizations and civil society.  Seven of eight officially registered political parties of the country are represented in the Public Council.  The Public Council established the Social partnership Club, which brings together some 70 representatives of the Public Council to discuss and find consensus on pressing social issues.