December 10, 2007
Dear compatriots! Distinguished friends!

Allow me, first of all, from the bottom of my heart to congratulate you and in your persons entire our nation on the landmark date ? the Constitution Day and express to you my deep respect. Today we are broadly celebrating the 15th anniversary of adoption of the Constitution of Independent Uzbekistan ? the Main Law of our life.

We are all witnessing that the principles and requirements of our Constitution make up the basis of truly historical transformations, profound reforms and processes of renewal, which have been accomplished in the country for over the past period and radically changed the country and content of public life.

Today, objectively and critically assessing the traversed path, we can note with satisfaction that we have achieved the high goals in building the foundations of national statehood, free society, ensuring the human rights and interests, raising the potential and might of Homeland, people?s living standards, gaining the worthy place on the international arena thanks to the fact that we had unswervingly followed the principles secured in our Constitution.

Therefore, in the course of time we are realizing clearer and deeper the important role and significance of Constitution, its place in our life and influence to the public consciousness, the respect and trust of our people to the Main Law of the country is ever being strengthened.

Dear participants of the meeting!

Today, when we commemorate the 15th anniversary of adoption of Constitution I consider it expedient to dwell on the issue of holding the elections of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan at a high level, which is a serious test for all of us.

Everyone is well aware that the norms and procedure of holding elections are well and clearly defined in the Constitution of the country, in particular, the elections of the head of state on democratic basis, in accordance with universally recognized requirements. When the point is about it, it should be noted that the current law on elections of President in our country was elaborated and adopted in full conformity with requirements secured in the Constitution, with taking into consideration the international standards and experience of developed democratic countries.

There is a special Chapter 23 in our Main Law, which is dedicated to elections. Besides, this issue has been reflected in more than ten laws.

When we speak about the distinctive features and noteworthy aspects of the current elections, it should be said that in our country the right to nominate the candidates for the post of head of state is given to political parties. Rendering such right to political parties, which are occupying an ever more solid place in the country?s political arena and winning the people?s attention, expressing interests and aspirations of the particular social groups of population, fully meets the democratic norms and requirements.

At the same time, the candidate nominated by the initiative group of voters is also participating in the upcoming elections, who expresses the interests of citizens that are not the members of political parties.

In a word, the model of elections system, which we are today implementing, is thoroughly and deeply thought out, based on international standards and advanced experience of democratic states of the world and fully reflects the traditional values and mentality of our people.

At the moment the most important and outstanding task is to manifest our political and legal maturity in holding the elections of President, strictly observing the Constitution, laws and universally recognized international norms.

In this regard I consider it necessary to pay a special attention to the following issues.

Above all, at each stage of the elections we must provide for the rule of law and freedom of expression, create equal conditions for all candidates, fully reject the still existing approaches and stereotypes left from the Soviet period.

At the same time it is of a great importance to hold the elections in full conformity with the laws of our country and not allow for attempts of any kind of influence to this process on the part of state-administrative bodies and in general any influence from outside.

It is necessary to remember that the assessment of forthcoming elections by the international community will depend on to what extent the conditions will be created for political parties and representatives of public organizations, local and foreign observers, mass media for realization of their rights and duties.

According to the latest information, about 300 representatives of foreign countries and high-profile international organizations, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, will arrive in Uzbekistan to observe the elections. As a whole, 23300 people will observe the course of election campaign and process of voting during these elections.

Among them there are the representatives of Europe, Asia, the United States of America, Arab and other Muslim countries who will observe the process of elections.

Taking this opportunity, I want to draw the attention to one important issue.

It is not a secret for anyone: there are still those who assert that today some discord still continues between Uzbekistan on the one hand and the United States of America and European Union on the other. It is not difficult to understand that they would want such discord to exist from which they would draw a particular interest.

What can be said in this regard?

In its foreign policy Uzbekistan has always been and remains the supporter of mutually beneficial cooperation and mutual respect with all close and far away neighbors, including the United States of America and Europe. We will never turn off this road.

Moreover, one could confidently assert that the basis for equal and mutually beneficial ties, which fully meet our national interests, is now ever being strengthened.

I think you will support me if I say that today the voters, the entire nation deeply understand the essence and meaning of holding this election campaign at the highest level, in line with full observance of requirements of Constitution and laws ? openly, objectively and honestly.

I am confident that our people which have faced much in their lifetime and withstood many trials will take an active part in these elections and will vote for their kind hopes and aspirations to come true, for the peaceful life of the country, prosperity of our Homeland.

Dear compatriots! As it is well known, one of the five principles that make up the basis of independent path of development and recognized in the world as the ?Uzbek model? is the implementation of a strong social policy.

A vivid confirmation of this policy, which has been consistently carried out from the early days of independence, serves the fact that as compared with 2006, when nearly 51,9 percent of all expenses of the state budget were channeled to the social sphere, in 2007 this figure has already accounted for 53,8 percent. Moreover, in 2008 it is envisaged to allocate for these purposes 54,6 percent of budgetary funds.

It should be noted that such indicators are rarely seen in the practice of other states.

With an aim to gradually continue this policy, raise its efficiency and efficacy, as well as consolidate the atmosphere of mutual understanding, kindness and mercy in our society 2007 was announced in our country as the ?Year of social protection?, during which the special State program has been implemented.

Certainly, the relevant reports will be given and objective conclusions will be made on the outcomes of this program, which consists of seven priority directions and embodied hundreds of important measures, aimed at further expanding the scales and strengthening the social protection of population.

Most importantly, the information on organizations and people, who have manifested the high activeness and selflessness in implementing the plans and measures defined by the program will be brought to the notice of the broad public through the press, radio and television. The fair assessment will also be given to their work.

Availing myself of this opportunity, I consider it necessary to briefly dwell on the main outcomes of the noble and important deeds we have accomplished, the results of effective implementation of the program, which has acquired a truly nationwide nature, has left a deep trace in the country?s life.

It is clear that the organization and accomplishment of full-scale work of all sectors linked to providing for a worthy life and protecting the peoples? interests, taking this sphere as a whole up to a qualitatively new level, in a word, the implementation of a strong social policy and reforms in this direction above all require the strengthening of the relevant legislative basis.

Proceeding from this, in line with the State program the ?Year of social protection? 26 laws and normative-legal acts were adopted. Among them especially noteworthy are the laws ?On social protection of the disabled persons in the Republic of Uzbekistan?, ?On guarantees of the child?s rights?, as well as ?On charity? and ?On prophylaxis of iodine deficiency diseases?.

Along with this, with an aim to raise the efficiency of the system of social protection, the activity of central and local bodies and agencies responsible for implementing this task the special decrees and resolutions of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan were adopted, in particular, on radical reforming the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, its regional, district and city subdivisions, on additional measures to materially and morally support the young families, which have become an important step in further improving the social sphere.

The work in this direction is gradually being continued today, as well. It should specially be noted the implementation of measures set in the program to improve the material and technical basis of the ?Mekhribonlik? houses and specialized boarding schools, strengthen the attention and care of the state and society towards the children, who have lost their breadwinner, truly implement in practice the appeal: ?You are not alone?.

A vivid example of this is accomplishment of the construction and repair works at 15 specialized boarding schools and ?Mekhribonlik? houses and provision with modern equipments worth UZS 4 billion 800 million. Yet another example is the fact that the Ministry of Public Education has handed over the clothing and other necessary accessories to foster children at the ?Mekhribonlik? houses worth nearly UZS 112 million.

The contribution by many organizations and sponsors to resolution of these noble tasks deserves a particular attention. For example, they have channeled about UZS 580 million for these purposes in Samarkand, Navoi and Jizzakh provinces.

Speaking about this, I would like to note one example, which is distinguished among other kind deeds. During this year 28 ?Mekhribonlik? houses and 86 specialized boarding schools were presented with 114 buses produced here in Samarkand and 4 family children?s houses ? the ?Damas? minivans. For these purposes UZS 4 billion 600 million has been allocated from the State budget.

When we speak about such noble deeds, I think it is worth recalling the winged words of our great ancestor Alisher Navoi who wrote that the care about even one unfortunate person is equal to the care about the entire mankind.

In fact, it is not difficult to imagine how the hearts of hundreds of children have been filled with big joy and happiness when they have felt once again that they will never be left alone in the difficult life situation, but rather they will always live under the protection of our state and people.

It is also important that this year in the framework of the program the considerable work has been accomplished to strengthen the material and moral support of the less-fortunate and needy layers of population, provide them with jobs, thus, a solid source of income. The free handing over of cattle to 50 thousand families, as well as allocation by commercial banks of soft loans worth more than UZS 8,5 billion to 10580 families witness about the continuation of our kind deeds in this sphere.

It should also be noted that during this year the sponsors and patron organizations have rendered the charity aid to 3 million 100 thousand lone elderly, disabled, pensioners and families with limited means worth almost UZS 9 billion. Among such charity deeds there is an accomplishment of the complete overhaul of the ?Sakhovat? house in Almalyk as well as two multistoried residential housings for blinds in Andijan.

The continuation of these deeds has become the free qualified medical care rendered to 2400 citizens at specialized centers of Tashkent, the gratuitous handing over to the disabled of 8 thousand prosthetic devices, 3 thousand wheelchairs, 1500 hearing aids and 5 thousand special devices.

In line with a kind tradition, this year, as well, 485 thousand school first graders were presented the textbooks and school accessories worth UZS 5 billion 157 million. Along with this, one of the main activities carried out in the framework of the program has become the allocation to 715 thousand pupils from the families with limited means of the warm winter clothing worth UZS 17 billion 816 million. It should be noted that with an aim of health recovery 234 thousand our children, including 3 thousand boys and girls from the Republic of Karakalpakstan and Khorezm Province ? the areas with tough ecological conditions, as well as over 8 thousand foster children at the ?Mekhribonlik? houses and specialized boarding schools were granted the opportunity to rest at the summer health camps for free.

During this year the measures were implemented with an aim of not only rendering the material, but also the moral help to the disabled persons. The Special National Olympic Games with participation of 450 disabled children, the Paraolympic competitions among the disabled children and children of the ?Muruvvat? houses in Andijan, Ferghana, Kashkadarya provinces and the city of Tashkent serve as an example to the aforesaid.

Most importantly, the measures we are taking aimed at providing for the sanguineous and meaningful life for the disabled persons today bear their results. Recently the National Team of Uzbekistan at the Seventh world football championship among the amputees by demonstrating the mastery and courage has won over the renowned teams of Brazil, Iran, Ukraine, Turkey, Russia and secured the title of the world champion. Undoubtedly, this victory has filled our hearts with joy and pride.


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