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Turkmenistan parliamentary elections to take place

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Turkmenistan parliamentary elections to take place

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Source: Reuters

Turkmenistan will hold elections for its National Assembly today.

After President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov expanded the country’s parliament to two chambers in September 2020, the 125-member Assembly became the lower house of the newly created bicameral National Council. The constitutional change, according to Berdymukhamedov, was intended to promote Turkmenistan’s democratisation.

Today’s elections, however, are undemocratic. Although there is a semblance of political pluralism in Turkmenistan, the minority parties—the Party of Entrepreneurs and Industrialists and the Agrarian Party—are not genuine competitors for the ruling Democratic Party of Turkmenistan (DPT). Both parties were organised by DPT politicians and remain loyal to the president. Even if members of these parties win more seats in today’s elections, expect them to support Berdymukhamedov’s policy agenda.

In addition to the lack of genuinely competitive elections, Berdymukhamedov is positioning his son to take over as president. Berdymukhamedov most recently appointed his son as the new deputy prime minister. Coupled with today’s tightly controlled elections, Berdymukhamedov is likely consolidating his family’s power in hopes of setting up a dynastic succession.

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Photo: Pakistan Prime Minister's Office/AFP

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