Evgeniy Loboda shared his impression of the current election campaign and first outcomes of work of the Mission in the interview.
Evgeniy Alexandrovich, what authorities the CIS Observation Mission has?
We came to Turkmenistan by the invitation of the Central Committee for Elections and Referendums. We consider it as an act of goodwill of the Government of the country dictated by the intent for further democratization of the society, provision of transparency of the elections, openness for international observation of the elections and recognition of the competency of our Mission. In addition, the presence of the CIS Observation Mission promotes consolidation of the trust between the countries of the Commonwealth.
As for today, more than 50 observers for Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan as well as the CIS Executive Committee, Inter-Parliament Assembly of the CIS countries and Parliamentary Union of Belarus and Russia submitted documents for accreditation.
The Mission and its Headquarter perform their duties according to the Constitution and Election Code of Turkmenistan, universal standards of international election law as well as the Provision on the CIS Observation Mission at Presidential, Parliamentary elections and Referendums. In its activity, the Mission adheres to the principles of independence, impartiality and political neutrality, non-interference into internal affairs of the state and election process. Support of free and democratic elections is our main objective.
At the same time, we understand that the CIS Observation Mission is not a controller. The elections are undertaken for further development of the state and consolidation of the society. The CIS Observation Mission has to be taken as a group of professional exerts that is willing to provide consultation for correspondence of the elections with national legislation and international obligations of the country. We adhere to the policy of openness and publicity in our work.
The Mission started monitoring of election campaign in Turkmenistan? Where and what kind of meetings did you have?
The Mission and its Headquarter started the work on January 25. Since then, we visited Ashgabt and Ahal Velayat pooling stations, reviewed the work of Ahgabat Election COmmittee, met with official representatives of some of the candidates for the post of the President. There was a meeting of the First Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee of the CIS Executive Secretary Victor Guminskiy with the Chairman of the Central Election Committee of Turkmenistan and with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Policy Department, during which the aspects of election campaign were discussed.
At present moment, our experts study the Electoral Code. At the same time, we monitor mass media for coverage of election process and provision of the electorate with all necessary information about the candidates for the post of the Head of the State and their election programmes.
I would like to express the gratitude to Turkmen side for provision of necessary conditions and support in organizational work of the mission.
Evgeniy Alexandrovich, could you share your impressions of the organization of the election campaign?
I used to work as a member of the CIS Observation Mission during Presidential Elections in Turkmenistan and I receive visual evidence of the improvement of organizational level of electoral campaign. I would like to mention systematic and efficient work of the Central Election Committee of Turkmenistan. The visit of the pooling stations proves comprehensive technical provision for the elections. Favourable conditions was established for the work of all level of committees.
The members of election committees got necessary training for work with electorate registers, organization and conduct of the voting. The committees are provided with necessary legal and methodological literature. There are information available everywhere on the candidates for the President and their election programmes. The Mission notes that the Central Election Committee published more than ten booklets, including for initiative groups of the citizens for nominating the candidates, which describe the procedures for preparation to the elections and provide the samples of election documents. Broad informational support is provided by the website of the Central Election Committee. For the first time in Turkmenistan, the Braille alphabet is used in ballot cards, what is very important for visually impaired persons.
During the talks with members of election committees, we received the evidence of their high professionalism. I would like to highlight that the Mission receives all necessary information from all election committees. Everybody understand that the elections of the Head of the State is important social and political event in the life of the country, crucial strategy of further development of Turkmenistan and consolidating the society.
Nomination and registration of the candidates for the post of the President underwent in accordance with the Election Code of Turkmenistan by our opinion, in open and publicity manner, on wide alternative basis. It is pleasant to note that three political parties take part in the elections and six groups of the citizens gathered required number of signatures for nomination of their candidates for the first time in Turkmenistan.
At present moment, election campaign is undergoing at full pace and the Mission considers that all candidates were given equal rights. Nice premises for the meetings with the electorate, substantial air time for TV and Radio addresses and messages via print media are presented. The meeting with the electorate undergo at full halls where the candidates freely present their programmes and the constituents express great interest to their visions of the development prospects of the country. We observe fair competition in compliance with democratic and traditional ethic standards.
What will be the next activity of the Mission?
We are planning to continue meetings with the candidates and their official representatives to monitor election programme monitoring. We will visit the velayats and review the work of local election committees. By the outcomes of the visits, we will issue intermediate report. But I can tell right away that Presidential Elections campaign in Turkmenistan is organized on high level and undergoes under election legislation in open and publicity atmosphere, the activity of the committees has qualifying character and all candidates have equal opportunities.
Source: Turkmenistan: the Golden Age Online Newspaper