GeographyIQ.comGeographyIQ.com
  Home
  Rankings


A B C D E F
G H I J K L
M N O P Q R
S T U V W Y
Z          


Currency Converter

 


World > Middle East > Turkmenistan > Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

Turkmenistan - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Although the constitution declares the country to be a secular democracy and presidential republic, Turkmenistan is an authoritarian state that was dominated by its first president Saparmyrat Niyazov, who retained his monopoly on political power until his death on December 21, 2006. The Halk Maslahaty (people's council) decided on December 26 to select Niyazov's successor through public elections on February 11, 2007. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was sworn in as president on. Following the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, Turkmenistan declared its independence on October 27, 1991. Saparmyrat Niyazov became the first president of the new republic and remained the supreme decision-maker, 'president for life,' until his death on December 21, 2006. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov became president through a public election in which the population eagerly participated, even though the election did not meet international standards. The government efforts continue to focus on fostering centralized state control. Of the country's two parliamentary bodies, the 2,500-member people's council is the supreme legislative body and surpasses the 50-member Mejlis (parliament) in authority. The president controls the parliament and the judiciary. The civilian authorities maintain effective control of the security forces. Neither independent political activity nor opposition candidates are allowed in Turkmenistan. The Democratic Party of Turkmenistan (DPT) is the only legal political party. Political gatherings are illegal unless government sanctioned, and the citizens of Turkmenistan do not have the means to change their government democratically. On November 25, 2002, an armed attack against President Niyazov's motorcade occurred, and the Government of Turkmenistan moved quickly against perceived sources of opposition. There were widespread reports of human rights abuses committed by officials investigating the attack, including torture and punishment of families of the accused. The Government of Turkmenistan denied the charges, but refused to allow independent observers at trials, to accept a mandatory Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) fact-finding mission, or to permit the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to prisons. It also instituted new measures to stifle dissent and limit contact with the outside world.
While the constitution provides for freedom of the press, there is virtually no freedom of the press or of association. The government has full control of all media and restricts foreign publications. International satellite TV is available. The population is 89% Sunni Muslim. The constitution provides for freedom of religion and does not establish a state religion; however, in practice, the government continues to monitor all forms of religious expression. Amendments to the law on religious organizations adopted in March 2004 reduced membership requirements from 500 to 5 for registration purposes. All groups must register in order to gain legal status with the government. Until 2004 the only religions that were registered successfully were Sunni Islam and Russian Orthodox Christianity. By January 2006, nine minority religious groups had registered. The government limits the activities of unregistered religious congregations by prohibiting them from gathering publicly, proselytizing, and disseminating religious materials. A Soviet-style command economy greatly limits equality of opportunity. Industry and services are almost entirely provided by government or government-owned entities, while agriculture is dominated by a state order system, mainly for wheat and cotton.
Women face discrimination, and their freedom is further restricted due to traditional socio-religious norms. All citizens are required to carry internal passports, noting place of residence. President Niyazov introduced a new migration law in late 2005 that suggested a reimposition of exit restrictions on Turkmen citizens. As of August 2006, the law was not fully implemented and its effect remained unclear. In July 2007, the government rescinded the requirement for citizens to acquire visas for travel to border areas.
Corruption is pervasive. Power is concentrated in the president. The judiciary is subservient to the president, with all judges appointed for 5-year terms by the president without legislative review.
Principal Government Officials
President -- Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov
Foreign Minister -- Rashit Meredov
Ambassador to the United States -- Meret B. Orazov Turkmenistan maintains an embassy at 2207 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; tel: (202) 588-1500, fax: (202) 588-0697, website: http://www.turkmenistanembassy.org/


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





   Privacy Policy

   Portions of this site are based on public domain works from the U.S. Dept. of State and the CIA World Fact Book
   All original material copyright © 2002 - GeographyIQ.com. All Rights Reserved.
   For comments and feedback, write to us at info@GeographyIQ.com.