By Umer Tariq
& Uzair Ahmed Khan
ISLAMABAD: The registration of candidates in anticipation of the presidential election to be held on February 12, 2017 in Turkmenistan has ended, the ambassador of Turkmenistan to Pakistan told participants of a briefing held to brief journalist regarding the Presidential elections in Islamabad on Friday.
Nine presidential candidates were officially registered in Turkmenistan. The Democratic Party nominated the incumbent head of state Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan nominated chairman of the Commercial Bank Rysgal, Bekmyrat Atalyev, and the Agrarian Party nominated chairman of the Mary province committee Durdygylych Orazov.
Deputy Chairman of Turkmen state association of food industry Maksat Annanepesov, Deputy Head of the Mary province of Turkmenistan Jumanazar Annayev; Director of Seydi oil refinery, MP Ramazan Durdyyev; Deputy Head of Dashoguz district Meretdurdy Gurbanov; Head of the Economic Department of Akhal province Serdar Jelilov; Director General of ‘Garabogazsulfat’ association Suleymannepes Nurnepesov and are among the candidates nominated by initiative groups of Turkmen citizens.
‘The registered candidates were provided with equal rights and opportunities to organize meetings with voters, make speeches on TV, radio and in print media in accordance with the Turkmen national electoral legislation and the international law,’ according to the envoy.
Observers will have the right to attend meetings of election committees, and be there while sealing of the ballot boxes at polling stations before voting process, during voting, while counting of votes, as well as during the determination of the election results by polling station and counting of the overall results.
A total of 3,223 observers have been registered. As many as 610 represent the Democratic Party, 336 – the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs 407 – the Agrarian Party, 687 – trade unions, 279 – Women’s Union, 509 – Youth Organization, 321 – citizens’ initiatives, 74 – representatives of the candidates for the post of President of Turkmenistan.
Speaking exclusively to Daily The Patriot after the briefing the envoy said Ashgabat, the country’s capital will also hold the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, which is also counted as the 5th Asian Indoor Games in September this year. All 45 member countries of the Olympic Council of Asia have been invited to compete at these Games with Pakistan also expected to participate. Ambassadors of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Russia also attended the briefing.
It is pertinent to mention here that Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has been elected twice as the country’s president. During the presidential election in 2012, 97.4 percent of voters cast their ballots for Berdimuhamedov. Turkmen president is elected for a period of seven years, according to new amendments to the country’s Constitution.
Relations between Pakistan and Turkmenistan have strengthened recently. On the invitation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedo visited Pakistan in March last year. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif also visited Ashgabat in November last year to attend Global Conference on Sustainable Transport. During the visit the Prime Minister met President Gurbanguly. During the meeting important matters like the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline and re-establishing of air links between the two countries were discussed.