Under the wise leadership of the respected President, Independent, permanently Neutral Turkmenistan, along with all other systems, pays attention to the improvement of the electoral system. Elections held in our country, their roots of national democracy, lead to ancient principles based on the perfect experience of our grandfathers and fathers, and also continue in accordance with modern requirements. In recent years, our country has been consistently implementing systemic work on the development of national legal norms, and on their basis, a deeper democratization of society.

Full evidence of this is the various social and political events held in permanently Neutral Turkmenistan, carried out in accordance with the requirements of the developed world. Elections and referendums held in the country at any level are an amazing measuring device showing the degree of domination in various sectors of society of unique harmony, cohesion, unanimity and tranquility.

In accordance with the Electoral Code of Turkmenistan, the rights of citizens to elect and be elected, to participate in referendums are not limited and are universal. This principle is enshrined in legislative acts regulating the relevant areas of public relations.

An important feature of the laws of our country on electoral rights and freedoms is their compliance with international requirements and standards in this area. And these are excellent conditions created for the open and free realization of their will by representatives of all strata of the people. The legislation of Turkmenistan on elections and referendums is based on the Constitution of Turkmenistan, and also consists of the Electoral Code of Turkmenistan and other normative legal acts of our state. If international treaties of Turkmenistan establish other rules than those provided by the Electoral Code of Turkmenistan, then the rules of international treaties are applied.

In accordance with the Constitution of Turkmenistan, elections of the President of Turkmenistan, deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, members of the velayat, etrap, city Halk maslahaty, Gengeshes and referendums are held by universal secret ballot, equal and direct suffrage and on an alternative basis. These elections are held in single-member constituencies.

A referendum (popular vote) is one of the types of direct participation of citizens of Turkmenistan in realization of state power through voting.

In Turkmenistan, under the leadership of the esteemed President, much attention is paid to further democratization of society, improving the work of the electoral system, ensuring the guarantee of the electoral rights of citizens. Elections, which have become an important social and political event, are held in accordance with the principles of national democracy, as well as with modern international requirements and in a multi-party system.

Elections and referendums are general. Citizens of Turkmenistan who have reached the age of eighteen have the right to vote and participate in the referendum. Any direct or indirect restrictions on the rights of citizens of Turkmenistan to elect, be elected and participate in referendums depending on nationality, race, gender, origin, property and official status, place of residence, language, attitude to religion, political beliefs, party affiliation or absence membership in any party is prohibited.

Citizens, who have been declared legally incompetent by a court, or persons serving sentences in places of imprisonment, do not participate in elections and referendums. Restriction of the electoral rights of citizens in other cases is not allowed and entails liability established by the legislation of Turkmenistan.

Citizens of Turkmenistan have the right to participate on elections and referendums on an equal footing. Each voter or referendum participant has one vote. Elections are direct. The President of Turkmenistan, deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, members of the Halk maslahaty, Gengeshes are directly elected by citizens.

In our country, on elections, which held in accordance with democratic principles, the electoral rights of citizens form the basis of the elections. In this regard, it would be advisable to dwell in detail on electoral rights and their types.

The electoral right is one of the most important political rights - the right of citizens to elect and be elected to government bodies. The electoral right of citizens of Turkmenistan is the right to participate on elections and referendums provided by the Constitution and laws of Turkmenistan. Realization of the electoral right is ensured through the holding of free and fair elections and referendums on a broad democratic basis.

The concept of electoral law has two meanings - objective and subjective.

Objective electoral right is a system of legal norms governing public relations between bodies of state power and local self-government regarding elections. It includes such codes as labor, civil, administrative, criminal, which cover the norms of a number of other industries. As one example, we can say that the Code of Administrative Offenses of Turkmenistan contains articles on violations related with the realization of electoral rights.

Subjective electoral right is a guarantee of a citizen's ability to participate on elections of the bodies of state power and local self-government. Subjective electoral right consists of two parts: active and passive suffrage.

Active suffrage is the right of a citizen to participate on elections of representative bodies or officials as a voter - to vote and be a full participant in a referendum.

Passive suffrage is the right of the same voter to be elected to representative bodies or to elective offices by accepting a specified number of votes cast.

The above-mentioned active (elect) and passive (to be elected) rights are conditioned by a number of requirements set forth in the Constitution and electoral laws. These conditions are manifested in each state in relation to its citizens.

For example:

Active suffrage - voters who have reached the age of 18 by Election Day have the right to vote. In addition, in order to participate on elections, the voter must be a citizen of this state. Also, citizens who have been declared legally incompetent by the court, persons serving sentences in places of imprisonment do not participate on the elections. Restriction of the electoral rights of citizens in other cases is not allowed and entails liability established by law.

Passive suffrage is the right of citizens to be elected. In some cases, citizens enjoy both of these rights. If a citizen with the right to vote has been nominated and registered, then that citizen can realize both his active and passive rights.

To passive suffrage belong conditions when a person with a criminal record, which by the time of nomination has not been canceled or withdrawn, cannot be nominated as a candidate.

As part of the activities carried out in our country to ensure the democratic principles of elections and the electoral rights of citizens, it should be noted that, in accordance with Article 90 of the Electoral Code of Turkmenistan, decisions of election commissions and actions or inaction of their officials are appealed; in accordance with Article 91, decisions and actions or inaction of bodies of state power and local self-government and their officials, referendum participants are appealed in court; and in accordance with article 92, the procedure for carrying out responsibility for violation of the electoral rights of citizens is regulated.

Women's electoral rights are the rights of women to participate on elections. This right includes the right of women to elect and be elected. Until the 19th century, women's suffrage was limited. Then a period of active development of women's electoral rights begins. And in the middle of the 20th century, this led to the strengthening of women's suffrage at international standards. The first countries to introduce women's suffrage were New Zealand (1893), Australia (1902), and Russia (1906).

Amendments and additions to the Basic Law within of constitutional reforms carried out in our country, as well as, amendments and additions to the Electoral Code by the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, in connection with the transition to a bicameral system of the national Parliament, will lead to positive results on the way development of democratic principles of electoral law.

The active participation of young people, as well as women, on elections in our country shows that democratic progress and legal perfection have been achieved in our political life.

Elections, which became evidence of the maturity of the Turkmen society, the realization of the political rights and freedoms of citizens, clearly demonstrate the triumph of people's democracy.

That is why the international authority of our democratic, legal and secular state is growing.


Agajan Jumageldiyev,
chief specialist of the apparatus of the Central commission for holding elections and referendums in Turkmenistan.