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Law of Turkmenistan

On Elections of Deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan

(as amended on 10 December 1998, 22 April 1999, 21 May 1999, 10 September 2004)

CHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1. Foundations of the electoral system

In accordance with the Constitution of Turkmenistan, elections of deputies of the Mejlis (Parliament), which is the legislative body of Turkmenistan, shall be carried out by citizens of Turkmenistan on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot.

Elections shall be conducted in single mandate territorial districts. One deputy of the Mejlis shall be elected from each electoral district.

The election process shall be conducted on the basis of free nomination of candidates for deputy with equal enjoyment of rights, transparency and openness, freedom of campaign, and equal opportunities for all candidates in the conduct of election campaigns.

The term of office of deputies of the Mejlis shall be five years.

Article 2. Universal suffrage

Citizens of Turkmenistan who will have reached the age of 18 by the polling day shall have the right to vote.

Any direct or indirect limitations on the electoral rights of citizens of Turkmenistan based on ethnic origin, background, proprietary or official status, length of residence in a given location, sex, language, education, attitude towards religion, political affiliation or party membership shall be prohibited.

Persons suffering from mental disorder or recognised by a court as incapable, persons deprived of their freedom by sentence of a court, and persons held in detention as a preventative measure in accordance with legislation, shall not participate in elections.

Article 3. Equal suffrage

All voters shall participate in elections on an equal basis; each voter shall have one vote.

Article 4. Direct suffrage

Elections shall be direct; deputies of the Mejlis shall be elected by citizens directly.

Article 5. Secret voting

Voting at elections shall be secret; control over the expression of the will of the voters shall not be permitted.

Article 6. Calling elections

Election of deputies of the Mejlis shall be called by the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan no later than two months prior to the expiry of the powers of deputies of the Mejlis.

In the event of an early dissolution of the Mejlis, elections of deputies of the Mejlis shall be called by the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan no later than six months upon the dissolution. Elections in this case shall be organized in compliance with the provisions of this Law.

The date of the election shall be announced in the press.

Article 7. Conduct of elections by election commissions

The conduct of elections of deputies of the Mejlis shall be effected by the respective election commissions, which shall be comprised of representatives of political parties, public associations, bodies of territorial public self-government and other groups of citizens, and military personnel in military units.

Representatives to election commissions shall be nominated at meetings (conferences, plenary sessions or councils) of velayat, etrap and city bodies of political parties, public associations and at meetings of their primary organisational units; by meetings of citizens convened both upon the initiative of hyakims or archins and the initiative of groups of citizens. A meeting of citizens shall be deemed competent if attended by at least 30 voters residing in the territory of the electoral district.

Representatives of state authorities may be nominated to election commissions.

Article 8. Material provision for elections

Expenses related to the preparation for and conduct of elections of deputies of the Mejlis shall be covered by the state.

Article 9. Liability for violation of election law

Persons who hinder by force, deception, threat or other means the free exercise by a citizen of Turkmenistan of the right to elect and to be elected as a deputy of the Mejlis or to conduct an election campaign, and also members of election commissions who falsify election documents, deliberately miscalculate votes or permit other violations of this Law, shall bear liability established by law. Persons who disseminate by any means knowingly false or defamatory information about a nominated candidate for deputy of the Mejlis shall also be held liable.

If a candidate him/herself violates this Law the district election commission may revoke its decision to register him/her.

Complaints regarding violations of electoral legislation received by election commissions or state authorities during the period of preparation for an election or during the 15 days after the election shall be considered within one week, whereas those received on polling day shall be considered immediately.

CHAPTER 2. ELECTORAL DISTRICTS AND PRECINCTS

Article 10. Formation of electoral districts

Fifty territorial districts with approximately equal number of voters with deviations up to 10% shall be formed for elections of deputies of the Mejlis. Electoral districts shall be formed by the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan on the recommendation of halk maslahatys of velayats and the city of Ashgabat.

Not later than 55 days before the election the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan shall publish a list of districts with an indication of their boundaries and district centres in the newspapers Turkmenistan and Neitralnyi Turkmenistan.

Article 11. Formation of electoral precincts

For the conduct of voting and counting of votes in an election of deputies of the Mejlis the territory of an electoral district shall be divided into electoral precincts.

Electoral precincts may be formed in military units, sanatoriums and rest homes, stationary establishments for medical treatment, and in remote and difficult-to-access areas of citizens’ residence, which precincts shall form part of the electoral district in which they are located.

Electoral precincts shall be formed by district election commissions on the recommendation of halk maslahatys of etraps and cities, and in military units on the recommendation of commanders of military units.

Article 12. Procedure and norm for formation of electoral precincts

Precincts shall be formed not later than 45 days before the polling day. Precincts in military units and in remote and difficult-to-access areas shall be formed within the same period, but in exceptional cases may be formed not later than five days before the election.

Electoral precincts shall be formed with a number of voters from 20 to 3,000. In exceptional cases electoral precincts may be formed with less than 20 voters.

District election commissions shall inform voters about the boundaries of each electoral precinct and the location of the precinct election commission.

CHAPTER 3. ELECTION COMMISSIONS

Article 13. System of election commissions

Elections of deputies of the Mejlis shall be organised by the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan. For this purpose there shall be formed:

- election commissions of velayats and the city of Ashgabat;

- district election commissions;

- precinct election commissions.

The powers of the said election commissions shall expire upon confirmation of the powers of the elected deputies of the Mejlis.

Article 14. Powers of the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan in the preparation and organisation of elections of deputies of the Mejlis

The Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan shall be formed by the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan.

In preparing for and organising elections of deputies of the Mejlis the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan shall:

1) exercise control over the implementation of this Law on the whole territory of Turkmenistan and ensure its uniform application; provide clarifications on the procedure for applying the Law;

2) direct the activities of election commissions;

3) form electoral districts for elections of deputies of the Mejlis; publish in the press a list of districts with an indication of their boundaries and centres;

4) form election commissions of velayats and the city of Ashgabat;

5) distribute funds allocated from the state budget for financial provision and exercise control over their targeted utilization;

6) set the voting hours on polling day;

7) establish the format of ballot papers and forms for the account of the will of voters absent on polling day, voter lists, protocols of sessions of election commissions, other election documents and standard ballot boxes; organise the printing of blank election documents and their provision to election commissions of velayats and the city of Ashgabat;

8) hear reports of election commissions, heads of ministries and other central bodies of state administration, local bodies of executive power and bodies of local self-government on issues related to the preparation for and conduct of the election;

9) control the observance of equal conditions for participation of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis during the election campaign;

10) determine the results of the election for the whole of Turkmenistan and publish in the press an announcement of the results of the election and a list of elected deputies of the Mejlis;

11) issue identifications to persons elected as deputies of the Mejlis;

12) decide on the conduct of repeat elections of deputies of the Mejlis;

13) call by-elections of deputies of the Mejlis and provide for their conduct;

14) review complaints and appeals against decisions and actions of election commissions and pass rulings on them;

15) determine the procedure for the storage of documentation connected with the organisation and conduct of elections;

16) provide methodological support for election commissions;

17) exercise other powers in accordance with this Law and other laws of Turkmenistan.

Article 15. Formation of election commissions of velayats and the city of Ashgabat

For the election of deputies of the Mejlis the election commissions of velayats and the city of Ashgabat shall be formed by the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan on the recommendation of halk maslahatys of velayats and the city of Ashgabat not later than 55 days before the election and comprise 9-13 persons. In cases of necessity, the composition of a commission may be changed.

Article 16. Powers of election commissions of velayats and the city of Ashgabat

Election commissions of velayats and the city of Ashgabat, in their respective territories, shall:

1) exercise control over the implementation of this Law;

2) form district election commissions for elections of deputies of the Mejlis;

3) direct the activities of district and precinct election commissions;

4) control the provision to district and precinct election commissions of premises, transport, and communications and consider other issues of material and technical provision for elections;

5) hear reports of district and precinct election commissions, representatives of bodies of local executive power and local self-government, directors of enterprises, institutions and organisations on issues related to the preparation and conduct of elections;

6) provide assistance to district election commissions in the printing of ballot papers and forms for the account of the will of voters and organise the publication of posters with biographical details of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis;

7) aggregate the voting results for the velayat or the city of Ashgabat and send the protocols of the district election commission to the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan;

8) organise repeat elections and by-elections to the Mejlis;

9) consider within the periods established by this Law complaints and appeals against decisions and actions of district and precinct election commissions and pass rulings on them;

10) effectuate the procedure for storage of election documents established by the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan;

11) execute other powers in accordance with this Law.

Article 17. Formation of district election commissions

A district election commissions for an election of deputies of the Mejlis shall be formed in each electoral district not later than 50 days before the election and shall comprise 11-13 persons. In cases of necessity, the composition of a district election commission may be changed by the body which formed that commission.

District election commissions shall be formed by election commissions of velayats and the city of Ashgabat on the recommendation of halk maslahatys of etraps and cities.

Article 18. Powers of district election commissions

A district election commission, in the territory of its electoral district, shall:

1) exercise control over the implementation of this Law;

2). form electoral precincts and precinct election commissions and direct the activities of such commissions;

3) hear reports of precinct election commissions, representatives of bodies of local executive power and local self-government, directors of enterprises, institutions and organisations on issues related to the preparation for and conduct of elections;

4) control the compilation of voter lists and their display for public familiarisation;

5) decide on issues provided for by this Law related to the organisation of the nomination of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis; control observance of equal conditions for the participation of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis during the election campaign;

6) register nominated candidates for deputy of the Mejlis and issue them with appropriate identifications; publish an announcement about the registered candidates for deputy of the Mejlis; provide for the production of posters with their biographical details;

7) in the case envisaged by Article 9 of this Law, revoke its decision to register a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis;

8) register proxies of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis and issue them with appropriate identification documents;

9) organise jointly with bodies of local self-government and public associations meetings of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis with voters;

10) approve for the given electoral district the text of the ballot paper and the form for the account of the will of votes absent on polling day; provide for the production of ballot papers and the said forms and their supply to precinct election commissions;

11) establish the results of elections for the electoral district;

12) adopt a decision regarding repeat voting and conduct it; organise the conduct of repeat elections and of by-elections of deputies of the Mejlis;

13) review within the periods established by this Law complaints and appeals against decisions and actions of precinct election commissions and pass rulings on them;

14) exercise other powers in accordance with this Law.

Article 19. Formation of precinct election commissions

Precinct election commissions shall be formed by the respective district election commission on the recommendation of halk maslahatys of etraps, and cities, and gengeshes not later than 40 days before the election and shall comprise 5-15 persons. In cases of necessity, the formation of precinct election commissions shall be permitted not later than five days before the election with a minimum composition of three persons.

Article 20. Powers of precinct election commissions

A precinct election commission shall:

1) compile the voter list for the precinct;

2) familiarise voters with the voter list, receive and review complaints regarding inaccuracies in the list and decide whether to make corresponding amendments thereto;

3) inform voters about the day of the election, the venue and time of voting;

4) prepare premises for voting and the ballot boxes;

5) organise voting at the polling station on polling day as well as on the day of repeat voting and repeat elections;

6) receive from voters who intend to be absent from their place of residence on polling day forms for the account of the will of such voters or filled-out ballot papers;

7) count of votes cast at the polling station and compile the respective protocol;

8) review within the periods established by this Law complaints and appeals regarding the preparation for the election and the organisation of voting and pass rulings on them;

9) exercise other powers in accordance with this Law.

Article 21. Organisation of the work of election commissions

The chairman, deputy chairman and secretary of an election commission of a velayat, the city of Ashgabat, a district or precinct shall be elected at the first session of the commission. This decision shall be published in the press.

A session of an election commission shall be quorate if not less than two thirds of the commission's composition participate in it. A commission's decisions shall be taken by means of open voting by a majority vote of the total composition of the commission. Members of the commission who disagree with a decision shall have the right to express a dissenting opinion, which shall be attached to the protocol in writing.

Decisions of an election commission adopted within the scope of its powers shall be obligatory for implementation by all state and public bodies, enterprises, institutions and organisations of all forms of ownership.

By a decision of an election commission one of its members may, for the period of the preparation for and conduct of the election, be released from the fulfilment of his/her job or office duties whilst retaining an average wage paid out of the funds allocated for the conduct of elections for the following periods: for a member of an election commission of a velayat, the city of Ashgabat, or a district -up to two months; for a member of a precinct election commission -up to one month.

The chairman, deputy chairman, secretary or a member of an election commission may be released from his/her duties on the commission on the initiative of the commission itself, on the recommendation of the body of the public association, meeting of citizens or military personnel which nominated him/her, and also on the basis of and according to the procedure established by Articles 31 and 36 of this Law.

The nomination of a new representative to an election commission and also the election of a new chairman, deputy chairman or secretary of a commission shall be conducted in accordance with the procedure established by this Law.

Article 22. Transparency in the work of election commissions

Election commissions shall inform citizens of their composition, location and of their work; about the registered candidates for deputy of the Mejlis and their biographical details, and about the results of voting for each candidate and the results of the election.

Representatives of political parties, public associations, meetings of voters and state authorities, and candidate proxies shall be entitled to be present at sessions of election commissions, when ballot boxes are sealed prior to the commencement of voting, during voting and counting of votes at the polling station, determination of the results of the election for the district, and tabulation of the overall results. Their complaints against violations of this Law shall be considered by election commissions immediately.

International and domestic observers and representatives of mass media shall be entitled to be present at sessions of election commissions, when the ballot boxes are sealed prior to the commencement of voting, during voting and counting of votes at the polling station, determination of the results of the election for the district and tabulation of overall results.

The powers of the said representatives must be certified with appropriate documents. Advance notification to election commissions of a representative's intention to be present on polling day at the premises for voting or at a session of an election commission shall not be required.

Mass media shall cover the preparation and conduct of elections. Election commissions, state and public authorities shall provide them with information about the preparation for and conduct of elections.

Article 23. Ensuring working conditions for election commissions

State and public authorities and officials shall be obliged to assist election commissions in the exercise of their powers and to provide to them according to the established procedure the premises, equipment, transport, information and materials that are necessary for their work, to consider questions raised by an election commission and provide answers to them not later that within a three day period.

Article 24. Appeals against decisions of election commissions

Decisions and actions of election commissions may be appealed according to the established procedure by candidates for deputy and their proxies as well as by voters to a higher election commission or a to a kazyet.

CHAPTER 4. VOTER LISTS

Article 25. The voter list and the procedure for its compilation

A voter list shall be compiled for each electoral precinct and signed by the chairman and secretary of the precinct election commission. The precinct election commission may recruit representatives of the public to participate in compilation of the list.

Bodies of local executive power and of local self-government shall provide for registration of voters and supply to precinct commissions information about voters residing in the respective territory as is necessary to compile voter lists.

Lists of military voters in military units and also of members of the families of military personnel and of other voters, if they reside within military units, shall be compiled on the basis of data provided by commanders of military units. Military personnel residing outside military units shall be included in the voter list for their place of residence according to the standard procedure.

Voter lists at sanatoriums and rest homes, and stationary establishments for medical treatment shall be compiled on the basis of data provided by the heads of such institutions.

Voters' names shall be indicated in the voter list in an order which is convenient for the organisation of voting.

Article 26. Procedure for inclusion of citizens into the voters list

All citizens of Turkmenistan who have reached 18 years of age by polling day, residing in the territory of a given electoral precinct at the moment when the voter list is compiled and entitled to participate in voting shall be included in the voter list.

A voter may be included in a voter list in only one electoral precinct.

Article 27. Familiarisation of citizens with voter lists and the right to appeal against inaccuracies in a voter list

Voter lists shall be displayed for public familiarisation not later than 10 days before the election and in electoral precincts formed in sanatoriums, rest homes, and stationary establishments for medical treatment - not later than two days before the election.

Citizens shall be provided with an opportunity to familiarise themselves the voter list and to verify their accuracy at the premises of the precinct election commission.

Each citizen shall have the right to appeal against non-inclusion, incorrect inclusion into a list or exclusion from a list and also against inaccuracies in the voter's details as they appear on the list. An appeal regarding inaccuracies in the list shall be considered by the precinct election commission, which shall be obliged to consider the appeal within two days, and on the eve of or on the day of voting, immediately, and to make all necessary corrections to the list or to provide to the appellant a copy of its reasoned decision to refuse the appeal.

CHAPTER 5. NOMINATION AND REGISTRATION OF CANDIDATES FOR DEPUTY OF THE MEJLIS

Article 28. Nomination of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis

Nomination of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis shall commence 45 days and end 30 days before the election.

Citizens of Turkmenistan who will have reached the age of 25 by polling day and have permanently resided in Turkmenistan for not less than 10 years before the nomination as candidate for deputy may be nominated as candidates for deputy of the Mejlis.

A person with a conviction which by the time of nomination has not been exculpated or pardoned according to the legally established procedure may not be nominated as candidate for deputy of the Mejlis. The minimum time to pass after the pardon or exculpation of the conviction shall constitute no less than 5 years.

Candidates for deputy of the Mejlis may be nominated by:

- political parties and public associations which have been registered according to the procedure established by law;

- meetings of citizens.

Upon nomination as a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis, a person whose position, according to the Constitution of Turkmenistan, is incompatible with the mandate of a deputy of the Mejlis, shall inform the district election commission in writing of the withdrawal of his/her candidacy or of his/her intention to vacate the office occupied if he/she is elected as a deputy of the Mejlis.

A nominated candidate for deputy of the Mejlis shall inform the district election commission in writing before the day that he/she is registered as a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis that he/she consents to stand for election in a given electoral district. The district election commission shall inform the candidate for deputy of the Mejlis of the date of his/her registration well in advance.

Article 29. Nomination of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis by political parties and public associations

Political parties and public associations shall nominate candidates for deputy of the Mejlis at sessions (congresses, conferences, plenary sessions and councils) of their central, velayat, etrap and city bodies. Public associations shall have the right to conduct joint sessions of such bodies to nominate candidates.

An unlimited number of candidacies may be discussed at sessions of bodies of political parties and public associations. Each participant of the session shall have the right to propose candidates for deputy of the Mejlis, to participate in discussing them, to support or reject them, or to propose for discussion his/her own candidacy for deputy of the Mejlis.

Only one candidate for deputy of the Mejlis may be nominated at each session of etrap and city bodies of political parties and public associations, or joint sessions of several such bodies.

Several candidates may be nominated at sessions of central, velayat, and Ashgabat city bodies of political parties, public associations or joint sessions of several such bodies, but only one candidate for deputy of the Mejlis may be nominated for each electoral district.

A candidate for deputy of the Mejlis shall be deemed to have been nominated if more than half of the members of the respective nominating body of the public association have voted for him/her.

The nomination decision shall be taken by an open or secret vote. The procedure for voting and other procedural questions shall be determined by the participants of the session.

A protocol shall be drawn up regarding the nomination of the candidate for deputy of the Mejlis for a particular district. The protocol shall be delivered to the district election commission within a two-day period, but not later than on the first working day after the end of the nomination period.

Article 30. Nomination of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis by meetings of citizens

Meetings of citizens for the nomination of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis election may be convened both upon the initiative of a group of citizens and upon the initiative of a district election commission.

Where the meeting is convened by citizens, the initiative group shall submit a written request regarding the holding of the meeting to the district election commission no later than three days before the intended date of its holding. The request shall feature the place and time of the meeting of citizens. It shall be signed by all members of the initiative group of citizens and shall include the surname, first name, patronymic, date of birth and place of residence of each of them.

Where the meeting is convened upon the initiative of a district election commission that commission shall inform citizens residing in the territory of the given electoral district by generally accessible means of the place, date and time of the meeting not later than three days before the intended date of holding the meeting.

A meeting shall be considered quorate if attended by not less than 200 voters residing in the territory of the electoral district .Participants of the meeting shall be subject to registration. Lists for the registration of participants of a meeting of citizens shall include the surname, first name, patronymic, date of birth and place of residence of each of them.

An unlimited number of candidacies may be discussed at meetings of citizens. Each participant of the meeting shall have the right to propose candidates for deputy of the Mejlis, to participate in discussing them, to support or reject them, or to propose for discussion his/her own candidacy for deputy of the Mejlis.

Only one candidate for deputy of the Mejlis may be nominated at each meeting of citizens.

A candidate for deputy of the Mejlis shall be deemed to have been nominated if more than half of the participants of the meeting of citizens have voted for him/her.

The nomination decision shall be taken by an open or secret vote. The procedure for voting and other procedural issues shall be determined by the participants of the meeting.

A protocol shall be drawn up regarding the nomination of the candidate for deputy of the Mejlis for a particular electoral district. The protocol with the list of participants of the meeting of citizens attached shall be delivered to the district election commission within a two-day period, but not later than on the first working day after the end of the nomination period.

Article 31. Registration of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis

Nominated candidates for deputy of the Mejlis shall be registered by district election commissions. Registration shall commence 35 days and finish 25 days before polling day.

The decision to register candidates for deputy of the Mejlis shall be adopted provided that the protocols of the meetings and sessions for nomination of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis for the given district and the statements of nominated candidates confirming their consent to stand for election are available.

The district election commission shall draw up a protocol regarding the registration of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis, which, together with the statements of the candidates, shall be submitted to the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan.

The district election commission shall be obliged to register all candidates for deputy of the Mejlis who have been nominated in compliance with the requirements of this Law. A refusal to register may be appealed within a three-day period to the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan or to a court.

A candidate for deputy of the Mejlis may be registered in only one electoral district. Each registered candidate for deputy of the Mejlis shall be issued with an appropriate identification.

A person nominated as a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis who is on any election commission shall be deemed to have been released from his/her duties on the commission from the moment that he/she is registered as a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis.

Not later than on the fourth day after registration of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis the district election commission shall publish a registration announcement in the press indicating the surname, first name, patronymic, year of birth, position occupied (occupation), and the place of employment and residence of each candidate for deputy of the Mejlis.

Article 32. Revocation of a decision to nominate a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis. Candidate's withdrawal of his/her candidacy

Political parties and public associations on behalf of their central, velayat, etrap, and city bodies and meetings of citizens that have nominated a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis shall have the right to revoke at any time prior to the election their decision to nominate a candidate for deputy. The relevant decision shall be adopted according to the procedure provided for nominating candidates for deputy of the Mejlis and shall be forwarded to the district election commission.

At any time before the election a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis may withdraw his/her candidacy by submitting a relevant request to the district election commission in writing.

The election commission shall inform voters in the district of the revocation of a decision to nominate a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis or of the withdrawal by a candidate of her/her candidacy.

Article 33. Procedures for nomination of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis to replace former candidates

Where persons cease to be candidates and no other candidates remain in the district, the district election commission shall invite central, velayat, etrap and city bodies of political parties and public associations and also voters in the district to nominate new candidates for deputy of the Mejlis. Where persons cease to be candidates less than 20 days before polling day, the election of the deputy from the respective electoral district shall be held within two months after the general election.

The nomination of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis in place of those whose candidacies ceased shall be conducted according to the procedure established by this Law.

Article 34. The ballot paper

The ballot paper shall include in alphabetical order all the registered candidates for deputy of the Mejlis for a given electoral district indicating the surname, first name, patronymic, position occupied (occupation), and place of employment and residence of each candidate for deputy. Ballot papers shall be printed in the state language and also in any other language used by the majority of the population of the electoral district.

Ballot papers shall be delivered to polling stations not later than three days before the polling day.

CHAPTER 6. GUARANTEES OF THE ACTIVITIES OF CANDIDATES FOR DEPUTY OF THE MEJLlS

Article 35. Rights of candidate for deputy of the Mejlis

From the moment of their registration by district election commissions, candidates shall have the right to appear at election and other meetings, gatherings, sessions, in the press, on television and radio.

State and public authorities, directors of enterprises, institutions and organisations, bodies of local executive power and of local self-government shall be obliged to provide candidates for deputy of the Mejlis with assistance in the organisation of meetings with voters and in receiving necessary reference and informational materials.

The use by candidates for deputy of the Mejlis of their official position to conduct their election campaign shall not be permitted.

After registration, a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis may be released from the fulfilment of his/her job office duties for the time taken to hold meetings with voters, make appearances at election meetings, gatherings, on television and radio whilst retaining the average wage paid out of funds allocated for the conduct of elections.

After registration, a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis residing outside the electoral district shall enjoy the right to free-of-charge travels to the electoral district and back to his/her place of residence.

A candidate for deputy of the Mejlis may not be brought to criminal liability, arrested or by other means deprived of his/her freedom without the consent of the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan.

Article 36. Proxies of a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis

A candidate for deputy of the Mejlis may have up to three proxies, who assist him/her in conducting the election campaign and campaigning for his/her election as a deputy of the Mejlis, and shall represent his/her interests in relations with state and public authorities, voters and also before election commissions.

After registration, a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis shall appoint proxies at own discretion and notify the district election commission of the same for the purpose of their registration. After registration of the proxies, the election commission shall issue them with identification documents. A candidate for deputy of the Mejlis shall have the right to replace his/her proxies at any time before the election.

A proxy may not serve on corresponding election commissions. The powers of proxies shall expire after the powers of the elected deputy have been confirmed.

Article 37. Election campaigning

Political parties, public associations and groups of citizens shall have the right to campaign without obstruction for their candidates after their nomination. Bodies of local executive power and local self-government shall provide them with equipped premises for holding meetings and also designate the mass media for the conduct of election campaigns.

All citizens, political parties, and public associations shall be guaranteed the opportunity to discuss freely and comprehensively political, business, and personal qualities of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis, and also the right to campaign for or against a candidate at meetings, in the press as well as on television and radio.

Candidates for deputy of the Mejlis shall meet with their voters both at meetings and in other forms convenient for voters. Meetings with voters shall be organised by the district election commission together with the respective bodies of local executive power and local self-government.

Voters shall be informed of the time and place at which meetings and gatherings are to be held well in advance.

Campaigning on polling day shall not be permitted.

CHAPTER 7. PROCEDURE FOR VOTING AND TABULATING THE RESULTS OF ELECTIONS OF DEPUTIES OF THE MEJLlS

Article 38. Time and place of voting

The voting hours for elections of deputies of the Mejlis shall be established by the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan. Precinct election commissions shall notify voters of the time and place of voting not later than ten days before the election.

A precinct election commission may declare voting to be completed at any time if all the voters included in the list have voted and may proceed to count the votes before the time established by the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan as the end of voting.

Article 39. Organisation of voting

Voting shall be conducted in specially designated premises which shall be furnished with sufficient polling booths or rooms for secret voting and specific places for issuing ballot papers, and in which ballot boxes shall be set up in such a manner that the voter is obliged to pass through a polling booth or room for secret voting in order to reach the ballot boxes.

Precinct election commissions shall be responsible for the organisation of voting, ensuring the secrecy of the expression of will by voters, equipment of the premises and maintenance of order at them as necessary.

Before the beginning of voting on polling day the ballot boxes shall be checked and sealed by the chairman of the precinct commission in the presence of members of the commission.

Each voter shall vote in person; voting on behalf of others shall not be permitted. Ballot papers shall be issued by the precinct election commission on the basis of the precinct voter list upon presentation of a passport or another identification document. The voter list shall be marked to indicate that the ballot paper has been issued.

In cases where particular voters are unable to come to the polling station owing to the state of their health or other reasons, at their request the precinct election commission shall authorise particular members of the commission to organise voting at the place of such voters’ location.

Article 40. Conduct of voting

The ballot paper shall be filled out by the voter in a polling booth or a room for secret voting. It shall be forbidden for anyone whatsoever to be present when the ballot paper is filled out other than the voter. A voter who is unable to fill out the ballot paper by him/herself shall have the right to invite into the polling booth or room another person of his/her own choice but excluding members of the election commission, representatives of political parties and public associations, meetings of voters, state authorities, mass media, proxies of candidates for deputy, international and domestic observers.

At elections of deputies of the Mejlis the voter shall cross out on the ballot paper the surnames of those candidates against whom he/she is voting. The voter shall drop the filled out ballot paper in the ballot box.

Article 41. Voting procedure for voters who are away from their place of residence on polling day.

A voter who is unable to be at his/her place of residence on polling day (away on a business trip, on vacation, or for medical treatment) shall have the right to convey to the precinct election commission in advance an expression of his/her will regarding candidates for deputy of the Mejlis who are standing for election.

From the moment when voter lists are displayed for public familiarisation a voter may receive at the polling station a form for the account of the will of a voter absent from his/her place of residence on polling day or a ballot paper if printed ballot papers are already available at the electoral precinct. The form for the account of the will of a voter or ballot paper shall be issued to the voter on the basis of the voter list upon presentation of a passport or another identification document to which effect the voter shall sign the voter list.

In conditions excluding control over the expression of his/her will, the voter shall cross out on the form or ballot paper the surnames of the candidates he/she is voting against.

The filled out form or ballot paper shall be dropped in the ballot box for voting by voters who are absent from their place of residence on polling day. Such ballot box shall be sealed well in advance in the presence of members of the precinct election commission. Before the commencement of voting on polling day all unused blank forms for the account of the will of voters shall be counted and cancelled by precinct election commissions.

Article 42. Counting of votes at the polling station

Counting of votes at the polling station shall be conducted separately for each candidate for deputy of the Mejlis.

 Ballot boxes, including those for voting by voters who were absent on polling day, shall be opened by the precinct election commission after the chairman of the commission has declared that voting is finished. The opening of ballot boxes before voting finishes shall be forbidden. Before the ballot boxes are opened all unused ballot papers shall be counted and cancelled by the precinct election commission.

On the basis of the voter list, the precinct election commission shall determine the total number of voters in the precinct and the number of voters who were issued ballot papers and forms for the account of the will of voters absent on polling day. On the basis of the ballot papers and the said forms found in the ballot boxes the commission shall determine: the total number of voters who participated in voting; the number of votes cast for and the number of votes cast against each candidate for deputy of the Mejlis; the number of votes cast against all candidates for deputy; the number of ballot papers and forms deemed invalid. Where citizens' surnames have been added in writing on the ballot paper or form by the voter, such votes shall not be counted. Where a vote is cast for a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis who ceased to be a candidate before polling day, that ballot paper or form for the account of the will of an absent voter shall not be taken into account when the votes are counted.

Non-standard ballot papers and forms shall be deemed invalid. Where doubts arise about the validity of a ballot paper or form the issue shall be resolved by the precinct election commission by means of a vote. If more than one candidate is left on a ballot paper or form for the account of the will of an absent voter, it shall be deemed invalid.

The results of the vote count shall be considered at a session of the precinct election commission, announced and entered into a protocol. The protocol shall be signed by the chairman, deputy chairman, secretary and members of the commission and immediately forwarded to the district election commission in accordance with the procedure established by the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan. Dissenting opinions of members of the commission and complaints and appeals received by the commission concerning violations committed in the course of voting or the counting of votes shall be attached to the protocol.

Article 43. Establishing the results of elections for the electoral district

On the basis of the protocols of the precinct election commissions the district election commission shall determine: the total number of voters who were issued ballot papers and forms for the account of the will of voters absent on polling day; the number of voters who participated in voting; the number of votes cast for and the number of votes cast against each candidate for deputy of the Mejlis; the number of votes cast against all candidates for deputy; the number of ballot papers or forms deemed invalid.

The candidate for deputy of the Mejlis who has received in the election more than half of the votes of voters who participated in voting shall be deemed to be elected.

The election shall be deemed to be void if less than half the voters on the voter lists participated in it, and also in the case of death of a candidate for deputy of the Mejlis if only one candidate was registered in the district.

The district election commission may deem the election invalid owing to violations of this Law committed in the course of the election or the counting of the votes.

The results of the election for the electoral district shall be established at a meeting of the district election commission and shall be entered into a protocol. The protocol shall be signed by the chairman, deputy chairman, secretary and members of the commission and sent to the velayat or Ashgabat city election commission to aggregate the results for the velayat or for the city of Ashgabat, with the protocols of the district election commissions subsequently sent to the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan according to the procedure established by it.

The announcement of the results of the election for an electoral district shall be published in the local press by the respective district election commission within the periods established by the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan. The announcement shall indicate:

-the total number of citizens included into voter lists;

-the number of voters who participated in voting;

-the number of votes cast for and the number of votes cast against each candidate;

-the number of votes cast against all candidates for deputy;

- the number of invalid ballot papers and forms;

-the surname, first name, patronymic, position occupied (occupation), and place of employment and residence of the elected candidate for deputy of the Mejlis.

Article 44. Registration of deputies of the Mejlis

The Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan shall register the elected deputies of the Mejlis on the basis of the protocols of district election commissions.

The Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan may refuse to register a deputy of the Mejlis and deem the election invalid if, in the course of the election or the counting of the votes, or when determining the results of the election, violations of this Law occurred.

Article 45. Publication of the results of an election of deputies of the Mejlis

An announcement of the election results and a list of the elected deputies of the Mejlis in alphabetical order indicating the surname, first name, patronymic, position occupied (occupation), and place of employment and residence of each deputy, and the electoral district from which he/she was elected shall be published in the press by the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan within a ten day period.

Article 46. Confirmation of the powers of deputies of the Mejlis

The confirmation of the powers of deputies of the Mejlis shall be considered at a session of the Mejlis.

CHAPTER 8. REPEAT VOTING. REPEAT ELECTIONS AND BY -ELECTIONS

Article 47. Repeat voting

Where three or more candidates for deputy of the Mejlis stood for election in an electoral district and none of them was elected, the district election commission shall adopt a decision to conduct repeat voting in the district between the two candidates who received the largest number of votes. The district election commission shall inform the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan of this decision and also voters in the district. Repeat voting in an electoral district shall be conducted within a two-week period in compliance with the requirements of this Law.

The candidate for deputy of the Mejlis who receives the larger number of votes from voters who participated in the poll compared to the other candidate shall be deemed to have been elected.

Where one of the candidates ceases to be a candidate for any reason the repeat voting shall be conducted for the one remaining candidate for deputy of the Mejlis. He/She shall be deemed elected if he/she receives more than half of the votes of voters who participated in voting.

Article 48. Repeat elections

Where no more than two candidates for deputy of the Mejlis stood for election in an electoral district and neither has been elected, or when the elections in an electoral district have been deemed void or invalid, or repeat voting has failed to produce an elected deputy of the Mejlis, the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan shall adopt a decision and authorise the district election commission to hold a repeat election in the electoral district. In doing so it may decide that the election be conducted by newly constituted district and precinct election commissions. Voting shall be conducted in the same electoral precincts and using the same voter lists as were compiled for the general election.

Repeat elections shall be held within a two month period after the general election. The nomination and registration of candidates for deputy of the Mejlis and other measures shall be conducted according to the procedure established by this Law. Where a repeat election is held those candidates for deputy who were not elected at the general election may stand for election again. Voters in the district shall be informed that a repeat election is to be held.

Article 49. Conduct of by-elections of deputies of the Mejlis

Where a deputy of the Mejlis ceases to be a deputy before the expiry of his/her term in a particular electoral district, a by-election shall be held within three months after his/her membership ceased. The election shall be called by the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan not later than two months before they are held and shall be organised in compliance with the requirements of this Law.

Where a deputy ceases to be a deputy less than a year before his/her term as a deputy of the Mejlis expires, a by-election shall not be held.

President

of Turkmenistan

Saparmurat Turkmenbashi

City of Ashgabat

10 December 1998