Intermediate report of the CIS Observers Mission on the outcomes of the monitoring of preparation and conduct of the elections of the deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan (March 5 – 20, 2018)
According to the invitation of Turkmenistan, the Mission of the observers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (hereinafter referred to as the Mission) monitors the preparation and conduct of the elections of the deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan (hereinafter referred to as the Elections).
The Resolution of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan of 25 November 2017 set the elections of the deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, members of velayat, etrap and city people’s councils and members of the Gengeshys on March 25, 2018. According to the amendments of the Election Code of Turkmenistan, the elections of all levels (national, regional, local) will be held on the same day of voting.
According to the Provision of the CIS Observers Mission on presidential and parliamentarian elections as well as on the referendums in the sates – the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Mission monitors only the elections of the deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan.
Representatives of the Azerbaijan Republic, the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Inter-parliamentary Assembly of the CIS members, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent State Executive Committee, 90 observers all together including 10 who works on long-term basis, have been accredited to the composition of the Mission.
The Mission started monitoring of the election campaign on March 5, 2018. Its work is widely covered by mass media, the headquarter of the Mission publishes information bulletins on the progress of the monitoring of the preparation of the elections. The CIS observers state that they have all necessary conditions for their work.
Legislative base of the Elections
The Elections are held based on the Provisions of the Constitution and the Election Code of Turkmenistan (hereinafter referred to as the Code), other legislative acts as well as on the Resolutions of the Central Elections and Referendums Committee in Turkmenistan (hereinafter referred to as the Central Committee).
According to the experts of the Mission, the Code guarantees the right of the citizen to vote and to be elected, the right of the election on the basis of total, equal and direct election right during secret ballot, legal and other protection of the election rights and freedoms, public and international monitoring of the elections.
The CIS observers state that national legislation regulates clearly and comprehensively all stages of the election process and serves as solid base for open, free and democratic elections.
The activity of the committees for preparation and conduct of the elections
Preparation and conduct of the Elections are carried out by the Central Committee, 125 regional election committees and 2604 district election committees including 39 abroad.
The order of formation of all level election committees is set by the Code.
The Central Committee is formed up by the President of Turkmenistan and consists of 15 people. The Chairman of the election Committee is approved by the Mejlis of Turkmenistan. Representatives of the Central Committee are nominated by the President, political parties and non-governmental organizations.
District election committees are formed up by the relative etrap or city election committee in the composition of 15 people. If necessary, district election committees may be formed up in minimum composition of three members. The representatives of district election committees are nominated at the meetings of initial organization of political parties, non-governmental organizations and public groups.
Compositions of the Central and district election committees were formed up in 2014 and composition of regional election committees in December 2017. The term of all election committees is five years.
The Mission notes that the Central Committee carry out the preparation to the election consistently and in organized manner. The Plan of preparation and organized conduct of the elections of the deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan was approved. Election districts and pool stations as well as their boundaries were formed up within the period set out by the Code. This information was published in the press. For the improvement of professional training of the organizers of the elections, the Central Committee held the seminars on the subject of efficient organization of work of regional and district committees for the elections of the deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan.
From January 2018, the Central Committee holds the seminars for the members pf regional and district committees aimed at further improvement of the knowledge on election legislation and the skills of its implementation. The seminars with the participation of the Mejlis deputies, specialists of the Central Committee and election legislation experts reviewed the subjects of further improvements of legal awareness of the members of election committees, proviso of pool stations, work with the electorate lists, organization of early voting and voting on the day of the elections as well as the role of mass media in the provision of transparency and publicity of election process.
For the provision of single application of the standards of the Code, the Central Committee published the manuals for regional and district election committees with necessary explanations and samples of documents. In addition, the guides for the mass media representatives, national and international observers and other printing media were made.
The CIS long-term observers familiarize with the work regional, district election committees of Ahal, Balkan, Mary Velayats, and Ashgabat on preparation to the elections.
The members of the Mission noted that the committees are provided with communication facilities, office equipment and necessary literature and information materials.
According to the Mission, the Central and lower election committees take necessary measures for proper preparation and conduct of the elections in accordance to the requirements of election legislation.
The electoral registers include the citizens of Turkmenistan after 18 years old, who permanently or more than three months before the elections live on the territory of certain pool station and has electoral right.
The electoral register was made separately for each pool station based on the information of the electorate handed over to district election committee by local executive power bodies and local administration, afterwards it was signed and stamped by the Chairman and the secretary of district election committee. Public representatives were involved to the work of the verification of the register by visiting the electorate in their residency.
The citizen of Turkmenistan who by some reason was not included in electorate list after it was signed have been entered to additional list by relative district election committee.
Not later than 15 days before the elections, the electorate registers were presented for the total familiarization in the premises of relative electoral committees.
Every citizen had right to appeal non-inclusion, wrong inclusion or exclusion from the register as well as mistakes admitted in their data, having submitted relative application to district committee.
According to the Mission, composition and verification of the electorate registers are held according to the Code what provides the realization of constitutional right of Turkmenistan citizens for the participation in elections.
Nomination and registration of the candidates of the deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan
According to the Constitution of Turkmenistan, the Mejlis consists of 125 deputies who are elected for five years on the basis of single-mandate constituencies with approximately equal number of the electorate.
According to the Code, Turkmen citizens attaining the age of 25 by the date of the elections and having resided in Turkmenistan for the last 10 years may stand as candidate to the deputies. The right of nomination of candidates to the deputies of the Mejlis belongs to political parties as well as to public groups.
The Central Committee made the Guideline on nomination of candidate that includes information and explanations on the regulation of the nomination of future parliamentarians.
The nomination of candidates to the deputies of the Mejlis was held from January 24 to February 22, 2018.
The candidates from political parties were nominated at the sessions (assemblies, conferences, meetings) of central, regional and city administrations. At the same time, several candidates to the Mejlis deputies could have been nominated, however only one candidate for each election district. The vote of more than half of the participants of the session was necessary for the nomination.
The meeting of the public groups on nomination of candidates to the deputies of the Mejlis had be held with the participation of not less than 200 hundred voters residing on the territory of relative election district. Only one candidate could have been nominated subject that not less than half of the participants of the meeting voted for him at each session of the public group.
Decisions of the sessions of political parties, protocols of the citizens’ meetings were sent within two days to relative regional committees with the attached statement of nominated delegates on agreement to ballot.
284 people applied for the registration in total. 168 people were nominated from political parties and 116 candidates from public groups. The registration of the candidates was held on February 3 – 27, 2018. Regional election committees registered all 284 candidates to the deputies. There are specialists of branches of the economy and representatives of various professions among them. More than 99 percent of the candidates have high education, more than 77 percent are in the age of 30 – 50 years, 26 percent are women. Information of the registration of the candidates to the deputies of the Mejlis and their biographies were published in the press.
According to the Mission, the nomination and registration of candidates were held on equal base, freely and transparently in compliance with national legislation.
Election campaign and highlight of the Elections by mass media
Election campaign of the candidates started from the moment of their registration and would end up on March 23.
Turkmensitan legislation guarantees candidates to the deputies and their re, presentatives with free election campaign via mass media, by session and meeting with electorate and spreading of the pre-election promotion materials.
According to the Code, the candidates are entitled to have equal free air time on the state TV and radio channels of not less than one hour per day. The air time has to be between 1900 – 2300.
Periodical press allocates equal free printing space for pre-election promotion materials of the candidates. Mass media presented each candidates to the deputies with free 10 minutes of air time on TV channels Altyn Asyr: Turkmenistan, Miras, Yashlyk as well as printing space in the central newspapers Turkmenistan and Neutral Turkmenistan and regional Ashgabat, Ahal Durmushy, Balkan, Dashoguz Habarlary, Turkmen Gundogary, Maru-Shaju Jahan.
The central Committee made the schedule of the broadcasting of the candidates on TV.
Organization of sessions and meetings of the candidates and their representatives with the population are held under active support of election committees, local administration, heads of organizations and enterprises. Cultural palaces and houses, ceremonial halls of schools and organizations are used for these purposes. Totally, 1000 meetings were held.
Local executive power and administration authorities set special places for placement of pre-election promotion material of the candidates at the territories of each election district.
The Mission consider that the measures taken by the organizers of the elections provide the election campaign on equal terms and free atmosphere. According to the requirements of the Code, Central and lower election committees keep informing the citizens on the course of the election campaign.
More than 11 thousands of information material on the candidates to the deputies were prepared and placed on the stands in public places by the Central Committee for the funds of the State budget.
TV and radio channels regularly broadcast the information on coming elections. Central committee and the State Committee for Television, Radio Broadcasting and Cinematography of Turkmenistan prepared 15 videos explaining the procedure of voting, early voting and filling of election bulletins, which were broadcasted on central TV. Invitations to the elections are placed on the banners.
Decisions, provisions, instructions and news related to the lection campaign are available on the website of Central Committee. (saylav.gov.tm)
The elections are regularly highlighted in the press and informational TV and radio programmes.
District election committees send invitations to the elections with date, place and time of the voting.
According to the Mission, the citizens are given with free access to true and impartial information on the candidates, stages and course of the election campaign.
According to the Code, the voters who did not have the opportunity to be in the place of the residency on a day of the elections could make their choice from 15 to 24 March 2018. Early voting were held with the participation of not less than 2 members of district election committee. Election bulletin filled by the voter was placed in sealed box. Representative of the Mission watched the procedure of early voting and stated that it was held in accordance to the Code.
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According to the Mission, the election campaign is held in quite atmosphere, in the spirit of open competition, in correct format and on high organizational level.
The Mission will lay its summary and assessment in the final document on the outcomes of the monitoring of the lections.
The CIS Observers Mission Headquarter
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