Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Politics of Turkmenistan
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Turkmenistan
local long form: none
local short form: Turkmenistan
former: Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic
Data code: TX
Government type: republic
Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Turkmenistan declared its independence on October 27, 1991. Saparmurat Niyazov became the first president of the new republic and still remains the supreme decisionmaker. On December 28, 1999, Niyazov's term was extended indefinitely by the Mejlis (parliament), which itself had taken office only a week earlier in elections that included only candidates hand-picked by President Niyazov; no opposition candidates were allowed.
The Democratic Party of Turkmenistan (DPT) is the only legal political party. Political gatherings are illegal unless government sanctioned. All citizens are required to carry internal passports, noting place of residence, and movement into and out of the country, as well as within its borders, is difficult.
While the constitution provides for freedom of the press, the government has full control of all media. Only two newspapers, Adalat and Galkynysh, are nominally independent, but they were created by presidential decree. Cable TV, which had existed in the late 1980s, was shut down.
Activities of all but the officially recognized Russian Orthodox and Sunni Muslim faiths are severely limited. Religious congregations are required to register with the government, and individual parishes must have at least 500 members to register. Severe measures are directed toward religious sects that have not been able to establish official ties of state recognition, especially Baptists, Pentecostalists, Seventh-day Adventists, Hare Krishna, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Bahá'ís. Practitioners of these sects have allegedly been harassed, imprisoned, and/or tortured, according to some outside human rights advocacy groups.
Corruption continues to be pervasive. Power is concentrated in the president; the judiciary is wholly subservient to the regime, with all judges appointed for 5-year terms by the president without legislative review. Little has been done to prosecute corrupt officials.
Note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)
National holiday: Independence Day, October 27 (1991)
Constitution: adopted 18 May 1992
Legal system: based on civil law system
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
chief of state:
President and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Saparmurat Niyazov (since 27 October 1990, when the first direct presidential election occurred); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Saparmurat Niyazov (since 27 October 1990, when the first direct presidential election occurred); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
note: Niyazov's term in office was extended indefinitely on 28 December 1999 by the Assembly (Majlis) during a session of the People's Council (Halk Maslahaty)
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 21 June 1992 (next scheduled to be held NA); note - President NIYAZOV was unanimously approved as president for life by the Assembly on 28 December 1999; deputy chairmen of the cabinet of ministers are appointed by the president
election results: Saparmurat Niyazov elected president without opposition; percent of vote - Saparmurat NIYAZOV 99.5%
under the 1992 constitution, there are two parliamentary bodies, a unicameral People's Council or Halk Maslahaty (more than 100 seats, some of which are elected by popular vote and some of which are appointed; meets infrequently) and a unicameral Assembly or Majlis (50 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: People's Council - NA; Assembly - last held 12 December 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; note - all 50 elected officials preapproved by President NIYAZOV; most are from the DPT
Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president
Political parties and leaders:
Democratic Party of Turkmenistan or DPT Saparmurat Niyazov
note: formal opposition parties are outlawed; unofficial, small opposition movements exist underground or in foreign countries
International organization participation: CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECO, ESCAP, FAO, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDB, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer)
The flag of Turkmenistan features a green field with a vertical red stripe near the hoist side, containing five carpet guls (designs used in producing rugs) stacked above two crossed olive branches similar to the olive branches on the UN flag; a white crescent moon and five white stars appear in the upper corner of the field just to the fly side of the red stripe.
- See also : Turkmenistan
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