At the ceremonial opening session of the newly-elected Turkmen Parliament, the country's President had to calm down some overly zealous members of Parliament who rushed to express their gratitude to the head of state.
On 7 January the first session of the 5th Mejlis convocation was held in Rykhyet palace in Ashgabat. It was held in a festive atmosphere in the presence of foreign diplomats, officials from the Turkmen government, elders, university students and the members of Parliament themselves.
The President of Turkmenistan G. Berdymukhammedov addressed the audience with a speech of welcome. However, before he had finished his speech, a group of people's representatives, who according to the rules, were supposed to respond to the address later, rushed to the speaker's stand where the head of state was still speaking.
Applauding on the way, they started expressing gratitude to the President, who had not yet finished his speech. Berdymukhammedov was forced to interrupt his speech and address the Mejlis chairperson A. Nurberdyeva with an admonition that the newly-elected members of Parliament seemed not to be familiar with the rules and regulations and had violated them. Later, softening his reprimand he added that he still had several minutes to read his speech to the end.
This humorous comment caused a burst of approving laughter and slightly eased the tension.
A witness informed us that this scene was not included in the coverage by TV channels. He also reported that everybody who was supposed to be in attendance in the convention hall had been convened at the Rukhyet palace at 6a.m. though the festivities were scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Therefore, after spending two hours outdoors in cold weather many warmed up and took a nap as soon as they reached their seats. Approximately an hour before the event they were woken up by those responsible for the proceedings.