Turkmenistan, a Central Asian country, recently held elections for deputies of the Mejlis (parliament), members of the Velayat (province), etrap (district), and city HalkMaslakhaty (people’s consul), as well as Gengeshes (local consuls). The elections were held on March 26, 2023, and they were conducted in a broad alternative basis that demonstrated the people of Turkmenistan’s desire to participate in democratic processes for a better future.
The recent elections in Turkmenistan demonstrate the country’s remarkable progress towards democracy and openness. The high turnout of voters, the broad alternative basis on which the elections were held, and the active participation of the population in the nomination of candidates are all indicators of Turkmenistan’s commitment to democratic values.
Preparatory work preceded the current elections, with 515 candidates registered for members of the velayats, and 2001 candidates registered for members of the etraps and cities HalkMaslakhaty. Additionally, 12,098 candidates were registered for members of the Gengeshes, and 258 candidates for the seat of the deputy of the Mejlis. The nominations of candidates were initiated by political parties and groups of citizens. The procedure for nominating candidates took place on the active participation of the population, which was largely facilitated by extensive organizational work on the field.According to the Central Commission for Elections and Referendums in Turkmenistan, all polling stations opened simultaneously on the territory of the electoral districts at the time set for voting. There were 312 polling stations in Ashgabat, 365 in Akhal, 272 in Balkan, 536 in Dashoguz, 567 in Lebap, and 550 in Mary. A total of 3,496,304 voters were registered to participate in the voting for the elections of deputies of the Mejlis. Additionally, the precinct electoral commissions registered 3,483,397 voters for the elections of members of halkmaslakhaty for velayat, etrap, and city and 256,682 voters for the election of members of the Gengeshes.
It is heartening to see that the elections were monitored by national and international observers, who have attested to the democratic and transparent nature of the voting process.The full monitoring of the electoral process was carried out by national and international observers who were present at the polling stations. The observers included representatives from the UN, the CIS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Organization of Turkic States, and experts from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. The calm nature of the voting, the festive atmosphere, and the high participation of voters were also noted by observers.
The high voter turnout, with over 90 percent of the electorate participating in the elections, is a clear indication of the people’s faith in the democratic process and their desire to contribute to the shaping of their country’s future. Pakistan, as a fellow member of the international community, welcomes Turkmenistan’s efforts towards democratization and the furthering of democratic values. It is important to note that democracy is not a one-size-fits-all model, and each country must chart its own course towards democratic governance based on its unique historical, cultural, and political context.
As a country that has faced numerous challenges in its own journey towards democratic governance, Pakistan stands in solidarity with Turkmenistan and congratulates its people on this milestone in their democratic journey. The successful conduct of these elections is a testament to the commitment and dedication of the Turkmen people and their leaders towards building a vibrant and inclusive democracy.The success of these elections is a testament to the great strides made by President SerdarBerdimuhamedov towards modernizing and transforming Turkmen society. These reforms have formed the basis of the country’s democratic foundations, and the elections are an important part of this process.
The recent elections in Turkmenistan were a significant milestone in the country’s ongoing efforts to promote democracy and civic participation. They demonstrated that the Turkmen people are engaged in the political process and want to have a say in the direction of their country. These elections also provide an opportunity for new voices to be heard in the national parliament and in the bodies of local executive power and local self-government. Pakistan also views these elections positively, as they are a testament to the growing role of democracy and openness in the region. The recent elections in Turkmenistan are an important role model for other countries in the region, and we hope that it will continue to inspire positive changes in the future.
To conclude,Turkmenistan’s progress towards democracy should be celebrated, and the country should be encouraged to continue on this path. The promotion of democratic values and institutions is essential for building a more stable, prosperous, and inclusive society. As Turkmenistan continues its journey towards greater democracy, we should support and encourage its efforts.Turkmenistan’s recent elections are a remarkable achievement and a testament to the country’s commitment to democracy and openness.
Safeer Hussain Shah Lawyer / International Election Expert