By Merdan Velhanov
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AA) – Turkmen voters will go to the polls to elect deputies for the country’s national assembly, or Mejlis, as well as members of the national and local people’s councils and local government bodies on Sunday.
As of March, 3.49 million voters are eligible to cast their ballots in the parliamentary elections.
During the elections, 175 candidates of three political parties – the Democratic Party, the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, and the Agrarian Party– as well as 83 candidates from civil initiative groups will compete to secure a place in the 125-member unicameral Mejlis.
At the same time, 515 candidates will race to gain a seat in the 240-member People’s Council, or Halk Maslahaty, and 2,001 candidates vie for a seat at the 960-member local people’s councils.
Also, 12,098 candidates will join the race to become members of local government bodies, which has 5,897 members.
Mejlis deputies, national and local Halk Maslahaty members, and local government representatives elected will remain in office for five years.
According to Turkmenistan’s Central Election Commission, the registration of candidates for the Mejlis, the national and local Halk Maslihaty, and local government bodies ended on Feb. 28.
Voting will be held in 2,644 ballot boxes across the country and 42 ballot boxes will be set up in Turkmenistan's diplomatic missions abroad.
The elections will be followed by 2,855 local observers, while representatives of UN institutions, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Organization of Turkish States, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will also be in attendance as observers.
In 2021, Turkmenistan introduced a bicameral legislative system, with the Halk Maslahaty, or People’s Council, and the Mejlis, forming the upper and lower house of the National Council of Turkmenistan, respectively.
In January, the Halk Maslahaty was reformed as an independent high representative body outside the legislature and all legislative authority was given to the Mejlis.
*Writing by Burc Eruygur