ASHGABAT, February 8 (Itar-Tass) — The head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Ashgabat, Ambassador Sergei Belyayev told foreign accreduted reporters in Turkmenistan that “the government of Turkmenistan has not extended an official invitation to the OSCE for sending observers to the presidential election.” “It is one of the main conditions for sending an observer mission to the country,” Belyayev explained. In addition, “the decision not to send observers to the country was made by the director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on the basis of assessments made by the mission that visited Turkmenistan in early December,” Belyayev added.
A meeting with foreign journalists that were accredited in Turkmenistan was held at the OSCE's office in Ashgabat on Wednesday to explain why the delegation of the OSCE/ODIHR experts was staying in thr country. “We arrived at the invitation of the OSCE Office in Ashgabat, and our goal is to support it in drafting a report on such an important event in the country as elections,” head of the delegation Nikolai Vulchanov said. However, he warned journalists that “the experts do not have the authority to make any public statements assessing the electoral process.”
A delegation from the CIS, which has already launched its activities in all regions of the country, was officially invited to observe the Turkmen presidential election that will be held on February 12. The delegation comprises 63 representatives of the CIS member states. National observers, a total of over 2.3 thousand, will observe the election at each polling station.
Monitoring of the previous presidential election in Turkmenistan, which took place on February 11, 2007, was conducted exclusively by the national observers. Neither the OSCE nor the CIS were officially invited. Then there were six candidates competing for the president’s post, including the country’s acting President Berdymukhamedov.
This year, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov is also the election’s favourite. His candidacy was nominated by all major non-governmental organisations of the country, including the only political party - the Democratic Party. His rivals are the minister of water resources and energy and industry minister, as well as heads of large state companies – of the oil and gas industry, construction, textile spheres and the regional administration. They are not the opposition, and their election programs mainly praise the successes of President Berdymukhamedov's rule.