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Uzbek President Islam Karimov in hospital

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By Euronews
Uzbek President Islam Karimov in hospital

<p>Uzbekistan’s president Islam Karimov has been taken to hospital, prompting rumours that he is seriously ill. </p> <p>A short statement released by the government on Sunday said the 78-year-old was undergoing an examination, and further treatment would take a certain period of time. </p> <p>Unconfirmed reports claim he has suffered a stroke. </p> <p>Karimov has been leader of the former Soviet republic, which borders Afghanistan, since before it gained independence in 1991. </p> <p>Last year he secured another five-year term winning more than 90 percent of the vote in an election Western observers criticised for lacking any real opposition. </p> <p>The absence of strong political institutions in Uzbekistan, coupled with the fact the president has no apparent heir, has raised concerns over any possible power transition. </p> <p>The country is due to celebrate its 25th anniversary of independence on September 1, an event Karimov routinely attends.</p>