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Unofficial translation

Law on the Election of Halk Maslakhaty

adopted on 25 October 2005

CHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1. Foundations of the electoral system

In accordance with the Constitution of Turkmenistan, velayat bodies of halk maslahaty of Turkmenistan, being representative bodies of people’s government in the territory of velayats and cities having the rights of velayats shall consist of members elected as a result of elections held on the basis of the Law of Turkmenistan “On Elections of Members of Velayat Halk Maslahatys.”

Elections of members of velayat and Ashgabat city halk maslahatys (hereinafter “velayat and city” respectively) shall be carried out by citizens of Turkmenistan on competitive principles out of not less than two to three candidates in each electoral precinct on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot.

Elections of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall be conducted in single mandate electoral districts. One member shall be elected from each district.

The election process shall be conducted on the basis of the free nomination of candidates for members of halk maslahatys with the 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 members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall be four years.

Article 2. Universal suffrage

Elections of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall be universal. Citizens of Turkmenistan who will have reached the age of eighteen by 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, sex, language, education, religious beliefs, political affiliation or party membership shall be prohibited.

Persons suffering from mental disorder, recognised by a kazyet as incapable, persons held in places of deprivation of freedom by a sentence of a kazyet, 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; members of halk maslahatys shall be elected by citizens directly.

Article 5. Secret ballot  

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

Article 6. Calling of elections

Election of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall be conducted in the whole territory of Turkmenistan simultaneously and called by the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan. The resolution on the calling of elections shall be adopted prior to the expiry of the powers of velayat and city halk maslahatys.

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

Article 7. Conduct of elections by election commissions

The conduct of elections of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall be effected by the respective election commissions, which shall be formed out of representatives of political parties, public associations, bodies of territorial public self-government and groups of citizens, which in military units shall comprise military personnel.

Representatives to election commissions shall be nominated at meetings (conferences, plenary sessions or councils) of velayat, etrap, and city bodies of political parties, at meetings of their primary organisations, public associations, at meetings of citizens as well as at meetings of military personnel in military units

A meeting shall be deemed competent if attended by not less than 30 voters. Prior to opening of the meeting or session their organizers shall establish their competence based on the results of registration of the participants of the meeting or session.

Representatives of state bodies may be nominated to election commissions.

Article 8. Material provision for elections

Expenses relating to the preparation and conduct of elections of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall be covered out of local budgets.

Article 9. Liability for violation of the election law

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

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

Objections regarding violations of electoral legislation received by election commissions or state bodies during preparations for an election or during the 15 days after the election shall be considered within one week; objections received less than one week prior to elections shall be considered by the election day, whereas those received on the election day shall be considered immediately.

CHAPTER II. ELECTORAL DISTRICTS AND PRECINCTS

Article 10. Formation of electoral districts

Eighty electoral districts with an approximately equal number of voters shall be formed for elections of members of velayat and Ashgabat city halk maslahatys.

Electoral districts shall be formed by the velayat or city election commission not later than 55 days prior to elections with publication of a list of electoral districts with indication of their boundaries and electoral district centres.

Article 11. Formation of precincts

For the conduct of voting and counting of votes in an election of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys the territory of etraps and cities 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 places of residence of citizens located in remote and barely accessible areas. Such precincts shall form part of the electoral district in which they are located.

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

Article 12. Procedure and norm for formation of electoral precincts

Electoral precincts shall be formed no later than 45 days before the polling day. In military units and in remote and barely accessible areas precincts shall be formed within the same period, but in exceptional cases may be formed no 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, formation electoral precincts with less than 20 voters shall be permitted.

The etrap or city election commission shall inform voters about the boundaries of each electoral precinct and the location of the precinct election commission and voting premises.

CHAPTER III. ELECTION COMMISSIONS

Article 13. System of election commissions

For the conduct of elections of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys there shall be formed

- election commissions of velayats and the city of Ashgabat;

- etrap and city election commissions;

- precinct election commissions.

The powers of etrap and city election commissions shall expire upon confirmation of the powers of the elected members of halk maslahatys.

The Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan shall exercise control over the implementation of this Law.

Article 14. Powers of the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan in the preparation and conduct of elections of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys

The Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan shall:

1) exercise control over the implementation of the present Law in the whole territory of Turkmenistan and ensure its uniform application;

2) form velayat and Ashgabat city election commissions;

3) determine the voting hours on polling day;  

4) establish the format of ballot papers, the form for the account of the will of voters who are absent on polling day, voter lists, minutes of sessions of election commissions, standard ballot boxes, and the procedure for the storage of election materials;

5) hear complaints and appeals received with regard to decisions and actions of election commissions and pass final decisions thereon;

6) determine the results of elections of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys for Turkmenistan;

7) exercise other powers in accordance with the present Law and other laws of Turkmenistan.

Article 15. Formation of velayat and Ashgabat city election commissions

Election commissions of velayats and the city of Ashgabat for elections of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall be formed by the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan on the recommendation of the velayat and city secretariats no later than 60 days before the election and comprise 9-13 persons. In some cases the numeric composition of a commission may be changed.

The composition of an election commission shall be made available to the public.

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

Election commissions of velayats and the city of Ashgabat shall:

1) exercise control over the implementation of the present Law and the correctness of the conduct of elections;

2) form electoral districts;

3) form etrap and city election commissions;

4) direct the activities of election commissions;

5) render assistance to election commissions in the provision of premises, transport, means of communication and consider other questions of material and technical support to elections;

6) approve expenditures for the conduct of elections upon recommendation of respective hyakimliks;

7) hear reports of election commissions, directors of enterprises, institutions and organisations as well as structural units of public associations on issues connected with the preparations for and conduct of elections;

8) provide assistance to etrap and city election commissions in the preparation of ballot papers and forms for the account of the will of voters intending to be absent from their place of residence on polling day,  secure the printing of election-related document forms and their provision to election commissions;

9) establish the voting results for each electoral district, provide identifications to the elected members of velayat and city halk maslahatys;

10) determine the election results for each velayat and city, publish the election results and the list of elected members of halk maslahatys;

11) make a decision to hold repeat elections and organize them;

12) organize by-elections of members of halk maslahatys;

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

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

15) exercise other powers in accordance with the present Law.

Article 17. Formation of etrap and city election commissions

Etrap and city election commissions for election of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall be formed by velayat and Ashgabat city election commissions upon recommendation of etrap and city halk maslahatys no later than 50 days before the election and shall comprise 11-13 persons. In some cases, the numeric composition of a commission may be changed.

The composition of the election commission shall be published and made available to the public.  

Article 18. Powers of etrap and city election commissions

Etrap and city election commissions shall:

1) exercise control over the implementation of the present Law;

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

3) hear reports of precinct election commissions, directors of enterprises, institutions and organisations as well as structural units of public associations on issues connected with the preparation for and conduct of elections;

4) control the compilation of voter lists and their publication;

5) decide on issues provided for by the present Law related to the nomination of candidates for members of halk maslahatys; exercise control over the observance of equal conditions for the participation of candidates in the election campaign;

6) register nominated candidates for members of halk maslahatys and issue to them an appropriate identification; publish an announcement about the registered candidates; secure familiarization of voters with the respective biographical details of candidates for members of halk maslahatys;

7) if the circumstances occur envisaged by Article 9 of the present Law, revoke its decision to register a candidate for member of a halk maslahaty;

8) register proxies of candidates for members of halk maslahatys and issue to them an appropriate identification;

9) jointly with bodies of local self-government and public associations organise meetings of candidates for members of halk maslahatys with voters;

10) approve for the each electoral district the text of the ballot paper and the form for the account of the will of voters intending to be absent from their place of residence on polling day; secure the printing of document forms, ballot papers and slips, their provision to precinct election commissions;

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

12) adopt a decision on repeat voting and organise its conduct;

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

14) exercise other powers in accordance with the present Law.

Article 19. Formation of precinct election commissions

Precinct election commissions shall be formed by the respective etrap and city election commissions no later than 40 days before the election and shall comprise 5-15 persons. If necessary, the formation of precinct election commissions shall be permitted no later than five days before the election with a minimum membership of three persons.

Article 20. Powers of precinct election commissions

A precinct election commission shall:

1) compile the voter list for the precinct;

2) organize familiarization of voters with the voter list, accept and consider applications regarding inaccuracies in the list and decide whether to make corresponding amendments therein;

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

4) secure preparation of premises for voting and ballot boxes;

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

6) accept 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) conduct the counting of votes cast at the polling station and execute the appropriate protocol;

8) consider within the periods established by the present 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 the present Law.

Article 21. Organisation of the work of election commissions

The chairman, deputy chairman and secretary of an election commission shall be elected at the first session of the commission, and the respective decision shall be published.

Sessions of an election commission shall be deemed competent if not less than two thirds of the commission's members participate in it. A commission's decisions shall be taken by means of open voting by a majority vote of the total membership 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 minutes in the written form.

The decisions of an election commission adopted within its powers shall be obligatory for all state bodies and public associations, enterprises, institutions and organisations of all forms of ownership.

The decisions and actions of an election commission may be appealed to a higher election commission.

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 retaining an average wage paid from the funds allocated for conducting the election for the following periods: for a member of a velayat, etrap and city election commission -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 in the commission on the initiative of the commission itself, on the recommendation of the body of the public association, a meeting of citizens or military personnel which nominated him/her, and also on the basis of and according to the procedure established by Articles 29 and 34 of the present Law.

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 carried out pursuant to the procedure established by the present 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 members of velayat and city halk maslahatys 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, state bodies, and candidates’ 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 the counting of votes at the polling station, and when determining the results of the election for districts and tabulation of overall results. Their complaints about violations of the present Law must be considered immediately by election commissions.

Observers and representatives of mass media may be invited to be present when the ballot boxes are sealed prior to the commencement of voting, during voting and the counting of votes, and when determining the results of the election for districts and tabulation of overall election results at sessions of election commissions.

The powers of the said representatives must be cel1ified with an appropriate document.

Mass media shall cover the preparation for and conduct of elections. Election commissions, state authorities, and public associations 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 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 within a three day period.

Article 24. Appeals against decisions and actions of election commissions

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

CHAPTER IV. 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 enlist representatives of the public to participate in the compilation of the list.

Bodies of local executive power and of local self-government shall ensure the account of voters and supply to precinct election commissions such information about voters living 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, stationary establishments for medical treatment shall be compiled on the basis of data provided by the heads of such institutions.

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

Article 26. Procedure for including citizens into the voter list

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

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

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

Voters lists shall be displayed for public familiarisation no later than ten days before the election and in electoral precincts formed in sanatoriums, rest homes, and stationary establishments for medical treatment - no later than two days prior to the election.

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

Each citizen shall have the right to appeal against non-inclusion or 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 such issues shall be considered by the precinct election commission, which shall be obliged to consider the appeal within two days, or on the eve of or on the day of voting, immediately, and to make necessary corrections in the list or to give the appellant a copy of its reasoned decision to refuse the appeal.

CHAPTER V. NOMINATION AND REGISTRATION OF CANDIDATES

Article 28. Procedure for nomination of candidates for members of velayat and Ashgabad city halk maslahatys

Nomination of candidates for members of velayat and Ashgabad city halk maslahatys 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 during 10 years prior to nomination may be nominated as candidates for members of velayat and Ashgabad city halk maslahatys.

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 member of a Velayat or city halk maslahaty. The minimum time to pass after the pardon or exculpation of the conviction shall constitute no less than 5 years.

Candidates for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall be nominated:

by political parties and public associations registered according to the procedure established by law – at sessions of their central, velayat, etrap and city organizational units. Public associations shall be entitled to hold joint sessions and meetings on the nomination of candidates;

at meetings of citizens held and convened upon the initiative of velayat, etrap, and city election commissions, as well as of an initiative group of citizens.

Where the meeting of citizens is convened on the initiative of a velayat, etrap or city election commission, that commission shall inform citizens residing in the territory of the electoral district by generally accessible means of the place, date and time of the meeting no later than 3 days before the anticipated date of he meeting.

Where the meeting is convened by an initiative group of citizens, this group shall submit a written application with this regard to the etrap or city election commission no later than three days before the anticipated date of holding the meeting with the indication of the place and time of the meeting of citizens. This application shall be signed by all members of the initiative group of citizens and shall include the surname, first name, patronymic, date of birth and home and place of residence of each of them.

A meeting shall be considered competent 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 home address of each of them.

An unlimited number of candidacies for members of halk maslahatys may be discussed at such meetings and sessions. Each participant at the meeting or session shall have the right to propose candidates, participate in discussing them, support or reject them, or propose for discussion as candidate for member of a halk maslahaty their own candidacy.

Only one candidate for the respective velayat or city halk maslahaty may be nominated at sessions and each meeting.

A candidate for member of a velayat or city halk maslahaty shall be deemed to have been nominated if more than half of the members of the respective election body of a public association or 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 issues of holding the meeting shall be determined by the participants of the meeting or session.

A protocol shall be drawn up regarding the nomination of the candidate for member of a halk maslahaty which within a two-day period, but not later than on the first working day after the expiry of the nomination period, shall be submitted to the etrap or city election commission. The candidate for member of a halk maslahaty shall be informed about the adopted decision on the nomination of candidates within the same time period.

A nominated candidate shall inform the etrap or city election commission in writing about his/her consent to stand for election before the day when the commission registers candidates for members of halk maslahatys. The etrap or city election commission shall inform the candidate for members of halk maslahatys of the date of registration well in advance.

Article 29. Registration of candidates for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys

Candidates for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall be registered by the respective etrap or city election commissions. Registration shall commence 35 days and finish 25 days before polling day.

In each electoral district not less than two to three candidates for members of halk maslahatys shall be nominated for registration. The decision to register candidates for members of halk maslahaty is adopted provided the protocols of the meetings and sessions on the nomination of candidates for members of halk maslahatys and the statements of nominated candidates confirming their consent to stand for election are available.

The etrap or city election commission shall draw up a protocol regarding the registration of candidates for members of velayat and Ashgabat city halk maslahatys, which, together with the statements of the candidates, shall be stored by the respective etrap or city election commission.

The etrap or city election commission shall be obliged to register all candidates for members of Velayat and Ashgabat city halk maslahatys who have been nominated in compliance with the requirements of the present Law. A refusal to register may be appealed within a three-day period to a higher election commission.

A candidate for member of a velayat or city halk maslahaty may be registered in only one electoral district. Each registered candidate for member of a halk maslahaty shall be issued an appropriate identification.

A person nominated as a candidate for member of a Velayat or city halk maslahaty who is on any election commission shall be deemed to have been released from his/her duties on the commission as of the moment of his/her registration as a candidate.

No later than on the fourth day after registration of candidates for members of Velayat and Ashgabat city halk maslahatys, the etrap or city election commission shall publish a registration announcement indicating the surname, first name, patronymic, year of birth, position occupied (occupation), and the place of employment and residence of each candidate for members of Velayat and city halk maslahatys.

Article 32. Revocation of a decision to nominate a candidate for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys. Candidate's withdrawal of his/her candidacy

Political parties, public associations, and meetings of citizens that have nominated a candidate for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall have the right to revoke at any time prior to the election their decision to nominate the candidate. A decision to that effect shall be adopted pursuant to the procedure provided for nominating candidates, and shall be submitted to the etrap or city election commission.

A candidate for member of a velayat or Ashgabat city halk maslahaty may at any time before the election withdraw his/her candidacy upon submitting a relevant written request to the etrap or city election commission which registered him/her as candidate for member of a halk maslahaty.

The etrap or city election commission shall inform voters of the revocation of the decision to nominate a candidate for member of a velayat or Ashgabad city halk maslahaty and of the withdrawal by a candidate of her/her candidacy.

Article 33. Procedure for nomination of candidates for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys to replace former candidates

Where persons cease to be candidates for members of velayat and Ashgabad city halk maslahatys upon the expiry of the term for nominating candidates and no other candidates remain in the electoral district or only one candidate remains, the etrap or city election commission shall invite bodies of political parties, public associations and also voters in the electoral district to nominate a new candidate for member of the halk maslahaty.

Where persons cease to be candidates less than 20 days before polling day, the election of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys from the respective electoral district shall be held within two months after the general election.

The nomination of candidates for members of halk maslahatys in place of those whose candidacy ceased shall be conducted according to the procedure established by the present Law.

Article 32. The ballot paper

The ballot paper shall include in alphabetical order all the registered candidates for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys for a given electoral district with the indication of the surname, first name, patronymic, position occupied (occupation), and place of employment and residence of each candidate for members of halk maslahatys. The ballot papers shall be printed in the state language and also in other languages used by the majority of the population of the electoral district.

CHAPTER VI. GUARANTEES OF THE ACTIVITIES OF CANDIDATES FOR MEMBERS OF VELAYAT AND CITY HALK MASLAHATYS

Article 33. Rights of candidates for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys

As of the moment of their registration by etrap and city election commissions candidates for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall have equal rights to appear at election meetings, gatherings, sessions, in the press, and on radio and television.

Bodies of local executive power and local self-government, directors of enterprises, institutions and organisations shall be obliged to provide assistance to candidates for members of halk maslahatys in the organisation of meetings with voters and in receiving necessary reference and informational materials.

The use by candidates for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys of their official position to conduct their election campaign shall not be permitted.

A candidate for member of a velayat or Ashgabad city halk maslahaty may not be brought to criminal responsibility, arrested or by other means deprived of freedom without the consent of the respective etrap or city election commission.

Article 34. Proxies of a candidate for member of a velayat or city halk maslahaty

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

After registration, a candidate for member of a velayat or Ashgabad city halk maslahaty shall appoint proxies at own discretion and notify the respective etrap or city election commission thereof for the purpose of registration. After registration of the proxies, the etrap or city election commission shall issue to them identifications. A candidate for members of halk maslahaty shall have the right to replace 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 member of a velayat or city halk maslahaty have been confirmed.

Article 35. Election campaign

All citizens, political parties and public associations shall be entitled to freely and comprehensively discuss the political, business and personal qualities of candidates for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys, as well as to campaign for or against them at meetings or in mass media.

Candidates for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall meet with their voters both at meetings and in other forms convenient for voters. Meetings of voters shall be organised by etrap or city election commission jointly 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 VII. PROCEDURE FOR VOTING AND TABULATION OF ELECTION RESULTS

Article 36. Time and place of voting

For elections of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys the time of voting shall be established by the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan. The precinct election commission 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 for the end of voting.

Article 37. 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 organizing voting, ensuring the secrecy of the vote of citizens, equipping the premises and maintaining order in 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 other 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 location of these voters.

Article 38. 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, public associations, meetings of voters, state authorities, mass media, and proxies of candidates for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys, and observers.

At elections of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys, 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 into the ballot box.

Article 39. 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 members of velayat and city halk maslahatys 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 who is absent from his/her place of residence on polling day, or a ballot paper if printed ballot papers are already at the polling station. A 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 circumstances 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 into 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 a voter shall be counted and cancelled by the precinct election commission.

Article 40. Counting of votes at the polling station

Counting of votes at the polling station shall be conducted separately for each candidate for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys. Ballot boxes, including those for voting by voters who are 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 electoral precinct and the number of voters who have been issued ballot papers and forms for the account of the will of voters who are absent on polling day. On the basis of the ballot papers and the said forms from 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 members of velayat and city halk maslahatys; the number of votes cast against all candidates; the number of ballot papers and forms found to be invalid. Where surnames of citizens have been added in writing on the ballot paper or form by the voter, such votes shall not be counted. Ballot papers and forms for the account of the will of voters who are absent on polling day where the vote is cast for a candidate for member of a halk maslahaty who ceased to be a candidate before polling day, 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 voters absent on polling day, it shall be deemed invalid.

The results of the vote count shall be considered at a session of the precinct election commission and shall be written into a protocol compiled for the electoral precinct. The protocol shall be signed by the chairman, deputy chairman, secretary and members of the commission and immediately forwarded to the etrap or city election commission. Any dissenting opinions of the commission members 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 41. Establishing the results of the poll for the electoral district and registration of members of halk maslahatys

The results of elections for electoral districts shall be determined at a session of etrap or city election commissions on the basis of the protocols of precinct election commissions.

The candidate for member of a velayat or city halk maslahaty who has received in the election more than half of the votes of voters who participated in voting shall be deemed to be elected.

An etrap or city election commission may declare the election invalid due to violations of this Law committed during the elections or the vote count.

An etrap or city election commission may declare the election void if less than half the voters on the voter lists participated in it, and also due to the death of one of the candidates to members of a halk maslahaty if two candidates were registered for that district.

Based on the results of the vote count, etrap and city election commissions shall compile a protocol on the results of elections of members of halk maslahatys for each district. The protocol shall be signed by the chairman, deputy chairman, secretary and members of the commission

The results of elections for velayats, city and electoral districts shall be published by the respective velayat or Ashgabad city election commissions not later than on the fifth day after elections. This announcement shall indicate: the total number of citizens on the 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; the number of invalid ballot papers and forms; the list of elected members of Velayat and city halk maslahatys in the alphabetical order with the surname, first name, patronymic, position occupied (occupation), and place of work and residence of each.

Article 42. Confirmation of the powers of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys

The confirmation of the powers of elected members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall be considered at a session of the velayat or city halk maslahaty.

CHAPTER VIII. REPEAT VOTING. REPEAT ELECTIONS AND BY –ELECTIONS OF MEMBERS OF VELAYAT AND CITY HALK MASLAHATY

Article 43. Repeat voting

Where three or more candidates for members of velayat or Ashgabad city halk maslahatys stood for election in an electoral district and none of them was elected, the etrap or city election commission shall adopt a decision to conduct repeat voting in the electoral district between the two candidates who received the largest number of votes. The precinct election commissions shall inform the voters in the district about this decision.

Repeat voting in an electoral district shall be conducted within a two-week period with observance of the requirements of the present Law.

The candidate for member of a velayat or city halk maslahaty 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 with respect to the one remaining candidate for member of a halk maslahaty. He/She shall be deemed elected if he/she receives more than half of the votes of voters who participated in the poll.

Article 44. Repeat elections

Where elections in an electoral district have been declared void or invalid, or repeat voting has failed to determine an elected member of a velayat or city halk maslahaty, the respective velayat or Ashgabat city election commission shall adopt a decision to hold a repeat election. In doing so it may decide that it is necessary that the election be conducted by newly constituted etrap, city, and precinct election commissions. Voting shall be conducted in the same electoral precincts and using the same voter lists as compiled for the general election.

Where a repeat election is held those candidates for deputy who were not elected as members of Velayat and city halk maslahatys at the general election may stand for election again.

Repeat elections shall be held within a two month period after the general election. The nomination and registration of candidates for members of velayat and city halk maslahatys and other measures shall be conducted according to the procedure established in the present Law. Voters in the electoral district shall be informed that a repeat election is to be held.

Article 45. Conduct of by-elections of members of halk maslahatys

Where members of velayat and city halk maslahatys cease to be members before the expiry of their term in a particular electoral district a by-election shall be held within three months. The respective velayat or city election commission shall determine the date of its holding not later than two months before they are held and shall organize this work in compliance with the requirements of the present Law.

Where a member of a halk maslahaty ceases to be a member less than six months before the expiry of his/her powers a by-election of a halk maslahaty member shall not be held.

CHAPTER IX. CALLING EARLY ELECTIONS OF MEMBERS OF VELAYAT AND CITY HALK MASLAHATY

Article 46. Calling early elections of members of velayat and city halk maslahaty

In cases, predetermined by the needs of the political and socio-economic development of the country as well as the necessity to make reforms and transformations taking place in the state and society more dynamic, elections of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys may be held early, prior to the expiry of their powers. Early elections of members of velayat and city halk maslahatys shall be called by the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan and held in accordance with this Law.

Article 47. Holding elections of members of halk maslahatys in a newly-formed velayat

Elections of members of halk maslahatys in a newly-formed velayat shall be called by the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan within two months after the day of its formation, and these elections shall be held in accordance with the present law.

The composition of the velayat election commission shall be approved by the Central Commission for Elections and the Conduct of Referendums in Turkmenistan.

Electoral districts and precincts shall be formed in accordance with the present Law.

Hyakims of etraps and cities shall publish a list of electoral districts and precincts with the indication of their boundaries and centres and shall inform voters about the location of the precinct election commissions and voting premises.

Chairman

of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan

President of Turkmenistan

Saparmurat Turkmenbashi