Uzbek election commissioner Mirzo-Ulugbek Abdulsalomov announced that the country will hold a presidential election December 23, 2007.
The announcement ended months of speculation over whether an election would actually take place by the end of the year, as required by Uzbek law.
The question hanging over the former Soviet state - whether President Islam Karimov would seek another seven-year term - was left unanswered. Karimov was born in Samarkand, Uzbek SSR, Soviet Union.
He is half-Uzbek, on his father's side, and half-Tajik on his mother's side. He grew up in a Soviet state orphanage. Later he studied engineering and economics in Tashkent.
Karimov’s daughter, Gulnara, not only serves as Uzbekistan’s ambassador to Russia, but also manages the majority of the family’s business interests. The Karimov family holdings include the largest wireless telephone operator in the country, night clubs, and a large cement factory.