Voting ended in the Uzbekistan presidential elections with 80.8% turnout, authorities said on Sunday.
Uzbekistan held the polls to choose a president for the next five years, with incumbent Shavkat Mirziyoyev widely expected to win a second term. Five candidates are vying for the presidential office.
Mirziyoyev took office after the 2016 death of Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan's first president who ruled the Central Asian country for 27 years. He won 88.61% of the votes against his three opponents.
Over 16.36 million registered voters cast their votes at 10,760 polling stations from at 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time (0300-1500GMT), Zayniddin Nizamhocayev, chairman of the Central Election Commission of Uzbekistan, told reporters.
For the election to be considered valid, turnout must exceed 33%.
To win the election, a candidate must get more than half of the votes, else the top two contenders will go to a second round.
Nearly 1,000 international observers from over 50 states, as well as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Turkic Council, and the Commonwealth of Independent States, are monitoring the elections.
More than 1,700 local and foreign journalists are covering the polls.
Citizens fluent in Uzbek language who are over age 35 and have lived in the country continuously for the last decade can run for the presidency.
TURKEY WELCOMES HIGH VOTER TURNOUT
The Turkish Foreign Ministry welcomed that the presidential elections were held in a "peaceful and tranquil manner with a high voter turnout."
"Based on the deep-rooted ties, Turkey attaches great importance to the stability and prosperity of Uzbekistan. We wish that the outcome of the presidential elections will be auspicious for the friendly and brotherly Uzbekistan," it said in a statement.
Turkey will continue to further enhance relations in all fields with "strategic partner" Uzbekistan to contribute to the regional security, stability and prosperity, the ministry added.