Under the leadership of esteemed President, fundamental changes are being realized in our country to consistently strengthen the democratic foundations of the state, consolidate the principles of democracy and ensure the constitutional rights of citizens. Popular elections were held on a broad alternative basis, marking a new stage in democratic realities that give impetus to development and improvement through the implementation of world experience in the national model of democracy.
In his speeches the Head of State repeatedly noted that in ancient times, based on democratic foundations, khans, elders, archins and mirabs had been chosen among the most worthy ones, i.e. on an alternative basis, on the principles of equality and publicity. These national traditions, inherited from historical times, under the leadership of the National Leader, have worthy continuation in the Prosperous Epoch of the Powerful State.
To elect and be elected is one of the most important political rights of citizens of the state, is the basic condition for the manifestation of democracy in public life.
In the political system of our country, based on democratic principles, a special place is given to people’s representatives in such structures as the country’s parliament, velayat, etrap, city halk maslahaty and to the Gengesh – to local self-government bodies. They include the most worthy, socially active members of society.
In accordance with the decision of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan as of November 25, 2017, the elections of the deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, members of the velayat, etrap, city halk maslahaty and members of the Gengesh were scheduled for Sunday on March 25, 2018.
In order to ensure the high organizational level of this event, the Central Commission for Elections and Referenda in Turkmenistan (hereinafter – the Central Election Commission) carried out the appropriate work.
According to the Electoral Code of Turkmenistan, the Central Election Commission, approving the plan of measures for the preparation for the elections and its organized holding, announced the beginning of the election campaign on December 4, 2017. During the election campaign, all the planned systemic organizational work was observed and clearly implemented.
The country had 125 constituencies for the elections of deputies to the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, 240 for the members of the velayat halk maslahaty and the halk maslahaty of the city of Ashgabat, 1200 for the members of the etrap, city halk maslahaty and 5,900 electoral districts for the election of the members of the Gengesh.
To conduct voting at the polls, 2604 polling stations were created, including 39 for diplomatic missions (consulates) of Turkmenistan in foreign countries. In order to ensure, on a large scale, the conditions for the publicity of this important sociopolitical event, information on constituencies and districts was communicated to the public through the mass media.
In the elections, special cameras were installed for the first time in dozens of polling stations in our country’s provinces and in Ashgabat, and the process of voting was demonstrated on-line on the website of the Central Electoral Commission saylav.gov.tm.
For the purpose of holding elections in accordance with the law and at a high organizational level, brochures were prepared and published: “Guidelines for velayats and Ashgabat city election commissions”, “Guidelines for etrap and city election commissions”, “Guidelines for district election commissions”, “Management for the election commissions of the city in etraps, settlements, gengeshliks,” “Guidelines for precinct election commissions,” “Guidelines for the nomination of candidates” and “Handbooks for national observers”, “Handbooks for the media”, “Handbooks for candidates”, “Handbooks to candidates’ proxies”, “Handbooks for foreign (international) observers.” In addition, other documents were also prepared. Election commissions of all levels were provided with these guidelines, handbooks, regulations.
Certificates handed to members of election commissions, national and foreign observers, candidates, election documents and all other necessary material and technical resources were provided in a centralized form by the Central Election Commission.
During the organization of the Central Election Commission and the participation of the deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan in the country’s velayats, methodical training seminars were held on elections with members of velayat, etrap, city district election commissions, city election commissions in etraps, towns, gengeshliks and precinct election commissions, national observers and representatives of funds mass information. At the seminars the tasks and powers of election commissions, the procedure for working were specified.
In accordance with the Electoral Code of Turkmenistan, the right to nominate candidates belongs to political parties registered before the election day, as well as to groups of citizens (individuals). The deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan were nominated and registered in relevant election commissions by 284 candidates, members of the halk maslahaty of the velayats and the city of Ashgabat 489 candidates, members of the halk maslahaty etraps and cities 2,570 candidates and members of the Gengesh 13215 candidates.
Thus, the total number of candidates registered in election commissions was 16558, of whom 6128 were nominated by the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, 964 by the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan, 3255 by the Agrarian Party of Turkmenistan and 6211 by individuals.
In accordance with the legislation, all registered candidates were provided with the same conditions for carrying out agitation and propaganda activities. Candidates were given the same amount of time for speeches on television and radio. Their autobiographies with photographs, as well as posters were published in the newspapers “Türkmenistan”, “Нейтральный Туркменистан” and in local newspapers.
All of them met with voters on equal conditions, presented their programs, answered questions, etc.
Additionally, 10 video clips explaining the procedure for voting at the elections, which were communicated to the attention of the population through television and radio programs, were prepared for the purpose of organizing the elections.
The course of preparatory work for the elections was widely and regularly covered in the mass media. The TV broadcasts consistently organized discussions on electoral legislation, on the basic democratic principles: alternative, openness, as well as on the rights of voters.
The election day in all polling stations began with the State anthem of Turkmenistan, the festive mood inherent in the Turkmen people on the days that were significant for the country was accompanied by performances of national singers and artists, workers of culture and art.
In all 2604 polling stations and 7,465 electoral districts the elections of the deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, members of velayat, etrap, city halk maslahaty and Gengesh were held from 7.00 to 19.00, in accordance with the Constitution of Turkmenistan and the Electoral Code of Turkmenistan.
The elections held in our country in accordance with national legislation were conducted based on the democratic principles inherent in the Turkmen people, on an alternative basis, by secret ballot on the principles of universal, equal and direct suffrage. In order to ensure the transparency of the elections in the respective velayat and Ashgabat city election commissions, 4,072 national observers from political parties, social associations and citizens’ groups (individuals) of the country and candidates were monitored.
International observers, independent observers from the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Independent States, including from the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan arrived in Turkmenistan on March 25, 2018. The Inter-parliamentary Assembly of the countries included in the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Russia and Belarus and the CIS Executive Committee, the Bureau for Human Rights and Democratic Institutions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Islamic Cooperation Organization, the United States of America, Austria, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in order to get acquainted with the holding of elections on a democratic basis, preparatory work and the voting process itself.
At the press conferences held with representatives of the media the leaders of the groups of observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization exp-ressed their opinion that the elections were held in an atmosphere of openness and transparency, that Turkmenistan is committed to a democratic development path.
Thus, the elections were held at a high organizational level, in accordance with the norms of the legislation, on the generally recognized democratic basis that create conditions for the free expression of the will of the voters. During their stay in Turkmenistan, members of missions of international and independent observers (142 observers), within the framework of the electoral legislation, had an opportunity to get acquainted with the work in the provinces of the country and the city of Ashgabat, to hold meetings with members of election commissions, candidates, leaders of political parties, groups of citizens (individuals), candidates and voters. In general, the leaders of the gropus of the observer groups noted that in Turkmenistan the elections were organized, on an alternative basis and in accordance with democratic principles. International observers particularly noted the active participation of voters in the elections.
Those who took part in the elections held in the year announced as “Turkmenistan – Heart of the Great Silk Road”, international observers got acquainted with the historical and cultural monuments, museums and sights of our state, expressing admiration for the careful preservation of the rich history and culture of Turkmenistan, and appreciated the beautiful look of our capital, which is in the national colour.
It should be noted that the 2018 elections differ in the fact that in the history of an independent, permanently neutral Turkmenistan they were held on the same day simultaneously in four representative authorities, as well as with the participation of three political parties and groups of citizens. This fact is a confirmation of our country’s adherence to the democratic principles of democracy in multi-party participation in elections. In these elections, a large-scale network of political diversity, political rivalry, recognized as the Constitution of Turkmenistan was formed. This can be confirmed with such data: 16,558 candidates were nominated for election to four levels of power, of which 7465 people were elected.
All expenses related to the holding and preparations for elections were financed from the State Budget of Turkmenistan.
The active participation of every citizen who has the right to vote in an important social and political event that determines the fate and future of our country – voting in the elections of the deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, members of the velayat, etrap, city halk maslahaty and Gengesh, was another triumph of the traditional principles of unity, cohesion and the patriotism of our people.
On March 28, 2018, there was the meeting of the Central Election Commission, where the results of the elections were summarized throughout the country. At this election, out of all 3291525 voters registered in Turkmenistan, 3019957 people voted, which is 91.75%. Including:
Thus, according to the protocols on the results of the voting, 125 deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan (of which 24.80% women), 240 members of the velayat halk maslahaty, halk maslahaty of the city of Ashgabat (of whom 20.42% women), 1,200 members of the etrap, city halk maslahaty (of whom 26% women), 5,900 members of the Gengesh (of whom 22.05% women).
7465 people were elected to four representative organizations, including 3257 from the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, 352 from the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan, 1358 from the Agrarian Party of Turkmenistan and 2498 groups of citizens.
The presence of representatives of different nationalities among the elected deputies shows that Turkmenistan is committed to democratic principles, our people live in peace and harmony.
According to the legislation, the elected deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, members of the Halk Maslahaty and the Gengesh are registered by election commissions; they receive certificates and election results. Information about the elections was communicated to the general public through mass media.
The current elections, which are of great importance in the development of our country, showed the whole world that Turkmenistan is confidently moving forward on the path of democratic development, and once again proved that under the wise leadership of esteemed President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, democracy in Turkmenistan is being further improved, the Turkmen society is united, the people fully supports the fair, peaceful policy of the National Leader, aimed at improving the well-being of the people and the prosperity of the Homeland.
Vice-chairman of the Central Commission for Elections
and Referenda in Turkmenistan