Elections to the Mejlis – Turkmenistan's Parliament – were held last Sunday. There were few people at the ballot stations, even in the capital. Mainly employees of government agencies and students came to cast their ballots.
It appears that due to the low turnout voters were not requested to show their IDs though many, by force of habit, brought passports of all adult family members to cast votes for all of them.
The lack of interest in the elections is witnessed by the fact that even by late afternoon, at least at three polling stations our correspondents visited, ballot papers were seen only at the bottom of the see-through ballot boxes.
Bios of candidates running for Parliamentary elections were posted at the ballot stations in the Turkmen language, but their political platforms were not available.
Voters were greeted with sweets. Sweets and biscuits were purchased at the expense of teachers and kindergarten staff, depending on where – school or kindergarten – the polling station was organized.
This time members of the election commission did not go house to house with ballot boxes. It appears that election commissioners themselves falsified the results to ensure a 90% voters' turnout.
Another formal step, which will be described by the authorities as "an outstanding move within the framework of democratic reforms in the epoch of power and happiness", was implemented.
Those who keep an eye on changes in the high echelons of Turkmen politics are concerned only whether the incumbent chairperson of Parliament Akdja Nurberdyeva will remain in office or will be replaced by another female. The number of parties represented in the Mejlis has no practical importance for today's governance system in Turkmenistan. Let the na�ve international community rejoice in the multi-party system.