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  • Uzbekistan leader Shavkat Mirziyoyev's election as president seems a foregone conclusion. In Picture: Russian President Vladimir Putin walks with Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev as he takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony in memory of late Uzbek President Islam Karimov in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, September 6, 2016.Reuters file
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi shaking hands with Uzbekistan Prime Minister Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev after paying tributes at the National Monument of Independence and Humanism, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on July 07, 2015.PIB India

Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the interim head of Uzbekistan, is likely to sweep the presidential elections in the Central Asian republic to be held later this year.

The polls are being held as a result of the demise of Islam Karimov, who passed away on Sept. 2, 2016 at the age of 78, after ruling the country for almost 26 years. The country broke away from the then USSR in 1991 to become an independent country.

The elections will be held on Dec. 4 this year and 59-year-old Mirziyoyev, who is also the prime minister of the country since 2003, is tipped to win after Senate Chairman Nigmatilla Yuldashev, opted out, Reuters reported.

Mirziyoyev's nomination was decided on Friday by the Liberal-Democratic Party, one of the four political parties in the country's 135-seat Parliament. 

Elections in the country are not considered "free and fair" and Karimov was re-elected many times with over 90 percent of the votes polled, the agency added. 

The previous presidential elections saw Karimov winning 90 percent of the votes in March 2015 even as the process was marked by "irregularities", according to Western observers.

India and Uzbekistan have seen a flurry of top-level visits, the latest being that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi last July. Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $319 million in 2015, with the balance skewed towards India, according to an update by the Indian mission in the country's capital Tashkent. President Karimov had visited India in 1994, 2000, 2005 and in May 2011.

However, the absence of any top-level Indian leader at Karimov's mourning ceremony, is an omission that Uzbeks won't forget, political analyst Jyoti Malhotra wrote in the Indian Express on Friday.

The cultural linkages between the two countries were highlighted by Modi during his address to Indologists, Hindi students and the Indian community in Tashkent on July 7, 2015.

"I once visited one area of Russia - if I said "Tea", then people there could not understand. But they understood "Chai" (synonym of Tea in Hindi). If I said "Door", they could not understand, but were able to decipher "Dwaar" (synonym of Door in Hindi). So many...like we call waterlemon as Tarbooz" (synonym of watermelon in Hindi), people there also say Tarbooz. This means that how language implants itself into everyone," Modi said.

Indian poets Mirza Ghalib and Amir Khusro are believed to be of Uzbek parentage.