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Turkmenistan's Political System

In 1992, just after independence from the Soviet Union, Turkmenistan adopted a constitution that declared the country to be a unified state and presidential republic. Officially, the country also became a multi-party democracy. The Constitution has subsequently undergone several changes.

Political System of Turkmenistan

The system of governance in Turkmenistan is divided into three - an executive government, a legislative authority added to the National Assembly (Majlis), and a legal body consisting of the Supreme Court. Another important body of government is the Elderly Council which assists the government.

President

The president is both the head of state and the head of government. The term of office is five years, and the members of the government are all appointed by the president. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how TM can stand for Turkmenistan.

Current President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov came to power in the Republic's second presidential election in 2007. He received 89 percent of the vote. For the first time, there were several candidates to choose from, but they all belonged to the same party (Democratic Party of Turkmenistan) and all wanted a continuation of the policies of the late President Saparmurat Niyazov - who had been in power since the Soviet era.

At Turkmenistan's last presidential election, February 12, 2012, Berdymukhamedov was re-elected for five new years. According to official Turkmen sources, he received 97 percent support and turnout was 95 percent. Officially, Turkmen had eight candidates to choose from, but these were all nominated by the sitting government and they represented the same party.

Despite elections and democratic declarations, Turkmenistan remains a totalitarian one-party state. In reality, all power is centralized and unified with the president. Human rights organizations around the world criticize the country for corruption, human rights violations and a lack of democracy. Freedom House ranks Turkmenistan in the "non-free" category along with North Korea, Uzbekistan, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Eritrea, Myanmar and Equatorial Guinea.

National Assembly

The National Assembly (Mejlis) consists of 125 representatives elected every five years. The last election was held in 2008 and the next election is scheduled for December 2013. All members of the National Assembly belong to the same party as President Berdymukhamedov - "Turkmenistan Democratic Party".

When former President Niyazov died in 2006, Berdymukhamedov was temporarily appointed president by the powerful legislative body called the People's Council (Halk Maslakhaty). A reform in 2008 abolished the People's Council, which consisted of 2507 members who met twice a year. The People's Council had considerable power, including approving candidates for the presidential election. The council also had the authority to dissolve Mejlis. In 2008, doubts were raised about the efficiency and political utility of the People's Council and it was resolved to remove it. At the same time, the National Assembly was decidedly expanded from 65 to 125 members, in addition to taking over several of the Peoples Council's previous authority and tasks (eg ratification of international agreements). The previous responsibilities of the People's Council were thus divided between the National Assembly and the President. After 2008, for example.

Policy

Although Turkmenistan officially declared itself a multi-party democracy after independence in 1991, all attempts at opposition have been halted. Niyazov claimed that the opposition parties lacked both popular support and political programs, and he refused to allow them to register. In reality, there is still only one party in Turkmenistan, and most oppositionists live in other countries, mainly in Russia.

After independence, the Turkmen Communist Party was renamed the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan (DPT), and Niyazov continued as party leader. The DPT feeds Communists' usual suspicion of Islamic fundamentalism, and an important issue is to prevent social and nationalist conflicts that have arisen in other US republics. The party program emphasizes the importance of maintaining stability, civil peace and interethnic dialogue.

Following the 2012 presidential election, Parliament passed a law to form the basis for the establishment of several parties.

Judiciary

According to the Constitution, the courts must be independent. They are presided over by a Supreme Court consisting of 22 judges. These are appointed by the President every five years.

Administratively

Administratively, Turkmenistan is divided into five regions, so-called Velajats: Akhal, Balkan, Dashoguz, Lebap and Mary.

Regional executive is exercised by the president's representatives (khyakims). There are also Regional People's Councils elected for four years.

The regions are divided into 50 districts, so-called stages. The capital is located in the region of Akhal.

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