Monday, February 12, 2007

Turkmenistan's sham election

Turkmenistan voted in its first ever multi-candidate election yesterday, to choose a successor to late President-for-life Saparmurat Niyazov. However, while turnout was high, the election seems to be the usual Central Asian sham. The candidates were screened by the People's Council, a partially elected body in which the ruling Democratic Party of Turkmenistan holds every seat, and opposition candidates were not allowed to stand (the leader of the opposition in the country, Nurberdy Nurmammedov, was subsequently arrested). Meanwhile, the People's Council also changed the constitution to allow Acting President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov to run, and the chief electoral officer has said he will "do everything" to ensure Berdymukhamedov's victory. So, the people of Turkmenistan have a choice between six government candidates, with the outcome likely to be pre-determined regardless of how they cast their ballots. Its a slight improvement on the old days, when they only had a "choice" of one candidate - but its a long, long way from democracy.


Yes, it's like being a National voter in Mangere, or a Labour voter in Clutha-Soutland.


Posted by Anonymous : 2/12/2007 02:55:00 PM

To point out the obvious, even in safe seats other parties get to run candidates. And of course under MMP voters can use their party vote to support their party nationally. Neither is the case in Turkmenistan.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 2/12/2007 03:08:00 PM