In the era of prosperity of our sovereign state under the wise leadership of our esteemed President, there is genuine attention to the electoral system along with other systems. Thanks to the great support of our Head of State, elections are based on democratic principles and international standards, and it is constantly improving. Thus, the democratic principles of the political development of our state are expanding.
Throughout history, the Turkmen people have elected prominent people who have gained great prestige, respect, and trust in the people through consultation, referendum, and voting. This is since the historical democratic principles of the Turkmen nation have been perfected and the will of the people is protected. If we look upon our history, it shows that the Turkmens were with a sense of democracy and held free and transparent elections.
Democracy – means people's power. Adherence to democratic principles means recognition of the fact that the state power is created with the participation of the people. This provision is in line with the Constitution of Turkmenistan Article 3, stating that "Turkmenistan's sovereignty is exercised by the people, and the people are the only source of state power. It exercises its power either directly or through representative bodies".
The Turkmen people have a way of saying «Without the past, there is no future», as the saying goes, the right of citizens to vote and to be elected in the life of the Turkmen people comes from the depths of history of its existence. The history of Turkmen convocations clearly shows that every member of the public was treated equally. In those convocations, both the pastor and the elders had the right to vote. More precisely, democratic principles of elections, that is fairness, transparency, equality, and the competition was chosen as the main direction for holding elections, and these democratic foundations have been fully implemented.
The Turkmen elders and the common people lived in equal conditions, this equality was prevalent not only among men but also among women.
As written in historical sources “In Turkmen society, women are very influential in their families and can express themselves in the same way as men in the general affairs of their families.” this sentence shows the fact that in Turkmen society, women are involved in political issues, and gender equality is always protected.
These principles of equality and fairness were ensured by the elected representatives of the people. This notion can also be seen in some of the historical Turkmen events. These events have become legends and passed from tongue to tongue, and inspired the minds of the people.
As our esteemed President noted with profound wisdom “Turkmenistan's electoral system is based on genuine democratic principles under generally accepted international law.”
The main feature of democracy is the guarantee of the Basic Law in the fullness of the rights and freedoms of the individual and the citizens of the state.
There is special importance for the right of every citizen to participate equally in the administration of public administration under democratic principles within human and civil rights. The implementation of this right depends on the level of perfection of the electoral law used in the state and its basis of democratic principles.
There is a growing interest in the standards in regards to holding elections which are developed by international organizations to protect the human rights and freedoms of the people of the world under the law. This legislation is being recognized internationally.
Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948, in Paris, Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets out the following provisions related to elections:
“(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”
Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 16, 1966, in New York City, Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees the rights and opportunities of every citizen without discrimination:
“Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions:
(a) To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;
(b) To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors;
(c) To have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his country.”
Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 21, 1965, in New York City, Article 5 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination sets out the following provisions:
“In compliance with the fundamental obligations laid down in article 2 of this Convention, States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights:
(c) Political rights, in particular the right to participate in the elections to vote and to stand for election based on universal and equal suffrage, to take part in the Government as well as in the conduct of public affairs at any level, and to have equal access to public service.”
Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 18, 1979, in New York, Article 7 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women sets out the following provisions:
“States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life of the country and, in particular, shall ensure to women, on equal terms with men, the right:
(a) To vote in all elections and public referenda and to be eligible for election to all publicly elected bodies;
(b) To participate in the formulation of government policy and the implementation thereof and to hold public office and perform all public functions at all levels of government;
(c) To participate in non-governmental organizations and associations concerned with the public and political life of the country.”
The Convention on the Political Rights of Women adopted on 20 December, 1952, also sets out the following provisions:
Women shall be entitled to vote in all elections on equal terms with men, without any discrimination.
Women shall be eligible for election to all publicly elected bodies, established by national law, on equal terms with men, without any discrimination.”
Methods to conduct elections under the law and international standards incorporate a number of democratic principles. On this basis, countries assess the transparency, authenticity, and fairness of the election process.
Rules for holding elections under democratic principles and international standards are the following: universal suffrage, equal suffrage, direct suffrage, secret ballot, regular and compulsory elections, open and transparent elections, free elections, genuine elections, fair elections.
Guided by the wise direction and prudence of our National Leader, it remains to be an important task and responsibility for the electoral commission to organize the elections based on democratic principles and under the Constitution of Turkmenistan and the Electoral Code of Turkmenistan. Because the free and voluntary vote of every citizen is the happy future of our country.
Assistant to the Chairman of the Central Commission
for Holding Elections and Referendums in Turkmenistan