In accordance with international standards in violation of the electoral rights and freedoms of citizens, a citizen has the right to file a complaint to a court or an election commission, and also has the right to restore his violated rights in the order established by national legislation. All participants in the electoral process are provided with the right to file complaints and applications. In the national law clearly outlines the procedures as well as the deadlines for submitting and considering complaints and applications. In addition, the procedure for bringing to responsibility, in case of violation of the electoral rights and freedoms of citizens, are specified in the Constitution, in the legislation on elections or in other relevant laws.
In article 25 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan, it is established that in Turkmenistan human and civil rights and freedoms are recognized in accordance with generally accepted norms of international law and guaranteed by laws. In accordance with our Constitution, citizens are guaranteed judicial protection, and they also have the right to file a complaint to court. These democratic norms create wide opportunities in providing judicial protection of our citizens.
The main law establishes general procedures for appeals, as well as ensuring the rights and freedoms of citizens. And the Electoral Code of Turkmenistan sets out in detail the procedure for filing a complaint on elections, as well as the term of their consideration. Decisions of election commissions, the actions or omissions of their officials, violating the electoral rights of citizens, may be appealed to a higher election commission.
Speaking about complaints for actions, these mean complaints for actions that violate citizens' electoral rights, electoral legislation, and other regulatory and legal acts. And speaking about complaints for inaction, it is implied failure to take the relevant actions within the established time limits recognized by the electoral legislation, that is, complaints for inaction.
In the case of simultaneous filing of complaints and applications for elections to the court and the election commission, the election commission suspends consideration of the complaint before a court ruling; the court informs the relevant election commission about the complaint.
According to the Electoral Code of Turkmenistan, to participants in the electoral process are guaranteed judicial protection. For example:
article 19 of the Electoral Code of Turkmenistan says that in the case of the termination of powers of a member of the election commission, according to a decision of the relevant election commission, the decision about the termination of powers may be appealed in court;
article 25 says that decisions of the Central Election Commission may be appealed to the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan;
article 43 says that every citizen has the right to appeal to the precinct election commission about inaccuracies in the list. The precinct election commission is obliged to submit an application on these issues no later, than within two days, and on the eve and on Election Day - immediately consider a statement, make the necessary corrections in the list, or issue to applicant a copy of a reasoned decision about rejection of his application;
article 48 says that the refusal in registration of a candidate may be appealed to a higher election commission or a court within three days. The complaint must be reviewed no later than within three days;
article 56 says that the refusal about registration may be appealed by the initiative group of the referendum in court.
In case of violation of the provisions of paragraph 5 of Article 68 of the Election Code of Turkmenistan, election commissions, voters, initiative groups, candidates, as well as their proxies, the mass media have the right to file a complaint to the court.
In accordance with paragraph 7 of Article 75, about the voting results, the precinct election commission attaches to the protocol an available special opinions of the members of the precinct election commission, statements and complaints received to the precinct election commission about violations committed during voting process or when counting votes;
on the basis of paragraph 6 of Article 76 of this Code, due to violations of the provisions of the Electoral Code on the results of voting, the right to file a complaint by the relevant body of a political party, public association, candidate no later than two days after election day, clearly demonstrates ensuring the protection of the rights of participants in the electoral process. Section XVII of the Electoral Code of Turkmenistan refers about the procedure for appeal and liability for violations of citizens' electoral rights.
In accordance with article 90 of the same section of the code, it is settled the procedure for appealing decisions of election commissions and their officials for actions (inactions);
in accordance with Article 91, the procedure for appealing to court the decisions and actions (inactions) of bodies of state and local powers, their officials, election commissions, other participants in the electoral process, violating the electoral rights of citizens;
and in accordance with Article 92, the procedure of bringing to justice for violations of citizens' electoral rights.
The order of filing a complaint to a higher election commission may differ from each other, depending on the elections. For example:
- about violations of the precinct election commission, on the elections of deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, the complaint is first submitted to the relevant district election commission;
- on the elections of members of the velayat, etrap, and city Halk maslahaty - to the relevant commission of the etrap, city;
- on the elections of members of the Gengeshes - to the relevant commission of the city in the etrap, settlement, gengeshlik.
But this does not prohibit filing a complaint to a higher election commission, i.e., bypassing the first higher election commission that comes after the precinct election commission.
For example, in case of violation of the order by the precinct election commission, on the elections of members of the Gengeshes, a complaint may also be submitted immediately to the relevant election commission of the etrap, the city. But, if the complaint was filed to the first superior election commission, which comes after the relevant election commission, then it is observed the sequence order of filing a complaint.
There are different deadlines for the consideration of complaints on the election campaign from the moment of their receiving:
- complaints related with the voter list are subject to consideration no later than within two days;
- complaints with other offenses - no later than within a three-day period;
- if the materials contained in the complaints require additional verification - no later than within five days;
- and on the day before Election Day, or on Election Day - immediately.
According to the Electoral Code, there are noted the deadlines for submitting complaints and applications at certain stages of the election campaign. For example:
- filing a complaint on the results of voting is possible after summing up the results of voting, within three days;
- filing a complaint on the results of the elections is possible after summing up the election results, within three days;
- and also, a complaint about a violation at the relevant stage of the election campaign is filed by the relevant body of a political party, public association, candidate no later than two days after Election Day.
Submission of some complaints related with the elections, first to the election commission, and then to the court, is not a prerequisite. This procedure can be carried out at the request of the applicant.
Some election commissions act only on one election. For example, the district election commission acts on the elections of deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, and the gengeshlik election commission acts on the elections of members of the Gengeshes.
This means that a complaint about a violation of the gengeshlik election commission cannot be submitted to the district election commission. Or, the district election commission is created by the Central Election Commission, therefore, a complaint about the violation of the order cannot be submitted to the velayat, etrap election commission, the complaint is submitted to the Central Election Commission or to the court. Therefore, attention should be paid to the procedure for the formation of commissions and the compliance of elections, in the case of a complaint.
In case of receipt of complaints and applications not related with elections, or issues not included to the powers of election commissions, the applicant will be notified, in writing form, about the appeal of this issue to the appropriate bodies.
And bringing to the attention of the applicant decisions on complaints taken by the election commission or the court, provide democratic conditions of these events.
It should be noted that in all polling stations there is a book "Complaints and applications."
The listed system events clearly demonstrate that the elections in our country are held in accordance with democratic norms and about the loyalty of Turkmenistan to generally accepted international norms and democratic principles.
Secretary of the Central Commission for holding Elections and Referendums in Turkmenistan.