Uzbekistan’s president Islam Karimov suffered a brain hemorrhage on Saturday and is in stable condition in intensive care, reported his daughter.
Karimov has built his authoritarian rule on warnings of a radical militant threat to the Central Asian region.
With no strong political opposition or free media being present, the case is likely directed to an eventual transition of power within a close circle of Karimov’s family and top officials.
According to the constitution, Nigmatilla Yuldoshev, the chairman of the upper house of parliament, is supposed to take over if Karimov dies or is unfit to continue working as president, and elections must take place within three months.
“At the moment, it is too early to make any forecasts about his condition in the future,” his daughter Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva wrote on her Instagram page on Monday.
Karimov, 78, presents himself as a beacon for stability in a country located on the northern borders of Afghanistan.
The government of Central Asia’s most populous country, ruled by Karimov since it gained independence with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, said on Sunday he was undergoing hospital treatment, but gave no details.
In reality, a successor might be picked much more quickly by the elite, as was the case in Turkmenistan, another Central Asian nation, whose authoritarian leader Saparmurat Niyazov died in 2006. In keeping with the Soviet tradition, his successor, Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, headed the funeral commission.
“Karimov and his inner circle have managed to build such a system of state power in Uzbekistan which will remain functioning irrespective of the life or death of the first person,” Russian political analyst Alexander Knyazev said.