Turkmens to vote in 2nd round of parliamentary poll

Turkmenistan will vote in a second round in two constituencies in its parliamentary election, the state-run news agency said on Sunday.

Turkmens to vote in 2nd round of parliamentary poll
Turkmens voted last Sunday in a poll promoted by the government as a step to democracy, but criticised for lack of choice -- most candidates represented the Democratic Party led by President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.

Human rights groups say the new elections' predictable outcome will not change anything in the tightly run state and call them a cosmetic measure designed to reduce Western criticism.

The Turkmen Khabarlary agency, citing the Central Election Commission, said one of the second-round votes would be on Dec. 28, between the two leading candidates after neither got more than 50 percent of the vote the first time.

In another constituency, the agency said, the winner withdrew from the race "for family reasons". A new poll will be held there on Feb. 8.

Turkmen Khabarlary gave no information about the 123 already elected members of parliament.

The vote was part of Berdymukhamedov's constitutional reform aimed at establishing a formal system of checks and balances by boosting the parliament's power.

But 90 percent of candidates represented the Democratic party, the only registered party in Turkmenistan.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe has not monitored the poll and said Turkmenistan's legal framework did not provide for genuine competition.

Last Mod: 21 Aralık 2008, 16:50
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