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Turkmenistan Adopts New Law On Presidential Elections

Current Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov
Turkmen media have announced the adoption of a new law on presidential elections.

According to the new law, a presidential candidate must have the backing of a political party or collect 50,000 signatures to register and compete.

Reports did not mention that there is only one registered political party in the country -- the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, formerly the Communist Party of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Turkmenistan -- which is led by current President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov.

The publication of the new law on June 1 could be an indicator that Turkmenistan will go ahead with scheduled presidential elections in 2012.

The previous president Saparmurat Niyazov was elected only once in 1992 and ruled until his death in December 2006.

The announcement of the new law comes on the eve of a visit by Audronius Azubalis, Lithuania's foreign minister and currently the OSCE chairman-in-office.

compiled from agency reports