President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov has died aged 78 after suffering a stroke. Although the government earlier stated that the health of Karimov, who has been in hospital since last Saturday, had sharply deteriorated, diplomatic sources have confirmed that he died today.
Described as Asia’s most authoritarian leader, Karimov did not designate a successor to take over the nation of 32 million people. He had ruled Uzbekistan since 1989, first as the head of the local Communist Party and then as president of the newly independent republic from 1991.
According to Reuters, analysts say the transition of power is likely to be decided behind closed doors by a small group of senior officials and family members. ‘If they fail to agree on a compromise, however, open confrontation could destabilize Uzbekistan.’