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Turkmen President Reiterates Multiparty-System Idea

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov speaks to parliament in Ashgabat on January 20.
ASHGABAT -- Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has urged parliament deputies to accelerate their work on a bill that would allow the establishment of other political parties, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

In an often critical address to parliament on January 20, Berdymukhammedov said that "the right to form political parties is one of the major political rights of our citizens."

He added that it was important to "to unify the principles of the formation of civil society's election institutions."

Turkmenistan's only political party, the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, has ruled the country for more than 20 years.

Berdymukhammedov first mentioned the necessity of establishing a multiparty system in Turkmenistan in February 2010.

At that time, he ordered parliament to outline a bill on the founding of political parties and to start registering them.

The parliament has not made its work on the bill public since that time.

Meanwhile, some Turkmen have told RFE/RL they are skeptical of the work of the parliament.

A businesswoman from the southeastern Mary region, Jahan Ataeva, says the parliament deputies and their representatives in the regions are unable to protect citizens' rights or promote their interests.

She says Berdymukhammedov's idea to create new political parties may never come to fruition.

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