Turkmenistan's One-Horse Election
|Publisher||Institute for War and Peace Reporting|
|Publication Date||20 December 2011|
|Cite as||Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Turkmenistan's One-Horse Election, 20 December 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f0c40452.html [accessed 11 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Nominations are under way for the February 2012 presidential election in Turkmenistan, in a contest seen as little more than a charade.
Formal registration of candidates starts on December 30, and so far there are four candidates. Two are local government officals, one a waterways manager. The fourth is the incumbent president, Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov.
Berdymuhammedov has invited the opposition in exile to come back and stand for election, but few would dare do so for fear of arrest and imprisonment.
Surprisingly, one opposition leader has tried to take up the challenge. Nurmuhammed Khanamov, who heads the Republican Parrty of Turkmenistan, based in Vienna has applied for permission to come back and stand for election.
"We've been told the letter has been received and will be considered, but we haven't had a reply yet," Khanamov told NBCentralAsia.
Emigres like Khanamov need to apply for a special visa to come back to Turkmenistan.
Vyacheslav Mamedov, head of the Civil Democratic Union of Turkmenistan based in the Netherlands, said there was no chance that the authorities would allow the opposition to reappear.
"An opposition candidate can neither be nominated nor be registered," Mamedov said of the election adding that the only candidates allowed to stand would be hand-picked to create the appearance of a competitive race.