Turkmenistan: How many citizens actually voted in parliamentary vote?
|Publication Date||15 December 2008|
|Cite as||EurasiaNet, Turkmenistan: How many citizens actually voted in parliamentary vote?, 15 December 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4948c32c22.html [accessed 24 July 2014]|
Officially, turnout for parliamentary elections in Turkmenistan on December 14 was 93.8 percent, the semi-official website Turkmenistan.ru reported.
Some 287 candidates ran for 125 seats in the country's reconfigured parliament. This was the first parliamentary election since the death of former president Saparmurat Niyazov in December 2006. Constitutional changes that led to the elections being held were introduced last September.
According to government figures, almost 2.6 million citizens cast ballots in the elections. But opposition websites contend that the official voting figures are inflated. Opposition sympathizers suggested the actual turnout ratio was closer to 30 percent of registered voters.
"I arrived to vote after five in the evening. When the officials were looking for my name on the list, I looked to see how many signatures were there. But the list was practically empty. On each sheet there was space for about 25 or 30 names, but not more than five or six actual signatures," a resident of Dashoguz told Chrono-tm.org.
The election was observed by monitors from the Commonwealth of Independent States and the OSCE. The CIS monitors declared the ballot to be "free and open" and in line with international norms. In an interview with Itar-Tass on December 15, head of the observer mission and executive secretary of the CIS, Sergei Lebedev, said; "The elections have become an important factor in the further democratization of the public life of Turkmenistan. They strengthen the basics of state sovereignty and ... are a reflection of the state's steady progressive socio-economic development."