During the Revival of the new epoch of the Powerful state, in the reforms carried out in our country under the leadership of our esteemed President a special place is given to improving the political system and democratizing all aspects of state and social life. Being a full-fledged member of the World union, Turkmenistan today is carrying out effective work on deepening democratic principles. The pace of work aimed at further democratization of the country's socio-political life and introduction of modern methods of organizing elections is increasing day by day.
We had a conversation with Maksatmyrat Geldiyev, head of the Organizational management of apparatus of the Commission for holding Elections and referendums in Turkmenistan, about the importance of the work of national observers in conducting elections in our country in accordance with the Electoral code of Turkmenistan, the internationally recognized electoral law and the established norms of conducting elections on a democratic basis, our national democratic principles that have been characteristic of the turkmen people since ancient times and the protection of civil rights:
- Maksatmyrat, let's start our conversation by talking about the importance and purpose of observing the democratic elections!
– In today's world monitoring the conduct of elections and referendums has been of great importance in the formation of democracy in public life and in ensuring the protection of human rights. At the same time, despite the increased emphasis on international election observation, the importance of local election observation has also been recognized.
Of course, the observation of elections at the local level directly contributes to the protection of human rights and the conduct of election activities in accordance with national laws and international norms and in an open and transparent manner. Also, monitoring of the elections by local observer groups is also of particular importance in terms of preventing certain violations of the law, preventing the repetition of certain violations committed in certain elections in the next elections, and increasing public confidence that the elections are held based on the principles of fairness.
In our Independent, permanently Neutral Turkmenistan by strengthening the democratic principles of election observation in our country in accordance with international norms, achieving the circulation of people's power in public life has become one of the main areas of attention of national observers.
The main purpose of election observation is aimed at protecting and expanding the right of citizens to vote, and helping to fulfill international obligations to conduct the elections in our country in a democratic manner.
The Constitution of Turkmenistan and the Electoral code of Turkmenistan are the legal basis of the elections held in our country.
– Who has the right to appoint the national observers in elections?
– According to the article 6 of Election code of Turkmenistan, the right to appoint the national observers belongs to political parties, public associations, groups of citizens and candidates.
The work of appointing national observers can be started from the day of the announcement of the start of election season by the central Commission for holding Elections and referendums in Turkmenistan in Turkmenistan.
National observers are appointed by political parties, public associations at their local organization mejlises, citizen groups at their meetings, and candidates after the registration. If at least thirty citizens with the right to vote participate in the meeting of the citizens groups to appoint a national observer, it is considered authorized. Candidates can appoint one national observer for each of the polling stations within their electoral district, and provide information about them to the relevant election commission.
National observers are registered in the elections of President of Turkmenistan by the Central Election Commission, and in the elections of the members of Mejlis of Turkmenistan, velayat, Ashgabat city, etrap, city halk maslahats and Gengeshes are registered by the velayat and Ashgabat city election commissions. They are issued with an identity card of the prescribed format.
The identity card is the base for the performance of the work of the observer during the preparation and conduction of the elections.
The rights of national observers start from the day they are registered and end from the day the elections’ results are officially published.
A citizen of Turkmenistan who has the right to vote, except for local representatives of state power and heads of local self-government bodies, judges, prosecutors, members of the election commissions, candidates, candidates' trustees, can be a national observer.
– In addition to our national observers, international observers also participate in the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in our country. Let's talk about them!
– As our ancestors used to say: "If the moon rises, the universe will see", in order to ensure the transparency of elections in our country, all opportunities are provided for international and national observers to observe the preparation and conduction of the elections.
In fact, the creation of all opportunities for international and local observation of elections is a basic condition for the conduct of elections based on democratic principles, and these conditions are also established in universally recognized international documents.
International practices include long-term and short-term election observation.
Long-term observation – covers the period from the start of the election season to the announcement of election results.
Short-term observation is the observation of voting process and voting results.
According to the article 6 of Election code of Turkmenistan, the election monitoring can be carried out by the candidates’ trustees, national observers, observers from foreign countries, international organizations (foreign (international) observers) within their powers.
Official registration of foreign (international) observers is carried out by the Central Election Commission in case of an invitation letter. The Central Election Commission handed out the foreign (international) observer an identity card of the prescribed format. The foreign (international) observer carries out his work autonomously and independently.
The rights of international observers start from the day they are registered in the Central Election Commission and end from the day the election results are officially published.
– As we know, the elections are in the eyes of the public. In this regard, national observers are appointed by political parties, public organizations, citizen groups and candidates. What about currently registered national observers?
As it is known, transparency and openness of election process is ensured by the participation of representatives of the candidates, observers, mass media. Actually, when the elections are held, it is in the eyes of the general public.
In order to ensure the transparency of elections of deputies of Mejlis of Turkmenistan, members of velayat, etrap, city halk maslahats and Gengeshes, which will be held on March 26, 2023, a total of 2802 national observers have been registered by the respective velayat and Ashgabat city election commissions till this day.
Regarding the quality of these registered national observers:
1377 of 2802 national observers are male and 1425 are female;
594 national observers are nominated by Democratic party of Turkmenistan, 307 are by Industrialists and entrepreneurs party of Turkmenistan, 408 are by Agrarian party of Turkmenistan, 600 are by Trade unions of Turkmenistan, 302 are by Women's association of Turkmenistan, 570 are by Youth organization of Turkmenistan named after Magtymguly, also 21 are nominated by citizen groups.
In accordance with the national laws and regulations of Turkmenistan, a special manual for national observers is developed and prepared by the Central Election Commission in order to facilitate the work of national observers. Also, during election season technical training sessions are held with them and are explained the rules, powers and rights of their election observation work, as well as international practices of election observation.
National observers can write their notes and final thoughts about the preparation and conduction of elections in the "Voters' and observers' recommendations" notebook at the polling station.
– Maksatmyrat, thank you very much for your meaningful comments about the national observers! We wish you continued success in your efforts to hold the elections at a high organizational level, which will be of great importance in the development of our national democracy.
The interviewer is Hekimberdi Ovezov.