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New Turkmen Law On Presidential Elections Published

The People's Council meeting on December 26 (ITAR-TASS) December 28, 2006 -- Turkmenistan's state newspapers today published the new law on presidential elections, adopted at the December 26 session of the Halk Maslahaty (People's Council).

According to the new law, more than half the electorate must cast ballots for the election to be considered valid and the candidate who receives more than half those votes is the winner.

Further, a candidate for the presidency must be no younger than 40 and no older than 70. Candidates must have been born in Turkmenistan and lived there for the last 15 years. This last point of residency automatically excludes any members of Turkmenistan's opposition-in-exile from participating.

Candidates must be fluent in the state language, Turkmen, and have served in a top government post, a social organization, or some sector of the national economy.

The People's Council must nominate candidates and after the election confirm the suitability of the winner to hold the country's top post.

Under former President Saparmurat Niyazov, who died last week after leading independent Turkmenistan since 1991, the law on presidential elections was never adopted.

In other news, the United States has called on Turkmenistan to conduct a "free, fair, and open election" to replace Niyazov.

The U.S. State Department said on December 27 that Washington wants Turkmenistan to have "the most representative government possible."

(ITAR-TASS, Interfax, AFP)

Saparmurat Niyazov, 1940-2006

Saparmurat Niyazov, 1940-2006

Turkment President Saparmurat Niyazov (

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RFE/RL's coverage of Turkmenistan.