The country is divided into twelve provinces (wiloyatlar ; sing., wiloyat ), one autonomous republic (the Karakalpakstan Republic), 156 regions, and 123 cities. In Uzbekistan's system of strong central government, local government has little independence. The chief executive of each province and of Tashkent is the hakim , who is appointed by the president. Although these appointments must be confirmed by local legislative bodies that are elected by popular vote, the power of the president is dominant. The Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan also officially elects its own legislature; the chairman of the legislature serves as the republic's head of state and as a deputy chairman of the national parliament. But in the autonomous republic, too, government officials are generally powerless against Tashkent. Indeed, Karakalpak officials often are not included even in meetings of heads of state to discuss the fate of the Aral Sea, which is located within Karakalpakstan.
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